Sun-Maid, a raisin company from Fresno, terminated its contract with the Grizzlies following a video that included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among the "enemies of Freedom".
After airing a Youtube video that included an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as one of the so-called enemies of freedom, the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team has lost a major sponsor, and one that specially hits close to home. Sun-Maid is a popular raisin company that was founded in Fresno and is something of a symbol in the central San Joaquin Valley, but it has now terminated its partnership with the Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league team. A Sun-Maid sign was prominently displayed at Chukchansi Park, home of the Grizzlies, but no more.
The three and a half minute video was aired during a Memorial Day game at Chuckchansi Park, and what started as an inspirational tribute to veterans, featuring excerpts from Ronald Reagan's first inaugural address, turned sour towards the end. In the video’s final moments, as Raegan talks about “the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people,” the following images appeared: Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s Supreme Leader; Fidel Castro, Cuba’s late President and Revolutionary leader; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and anti-fascist protesters.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Memorial Day tribute video the Fresno Grizzlies aired on Monday. Sun-Maid does not support the views or sentiments expressed in the video, nor does it condone the airing of it."
This has raised questions about the responsibility these kinds of messages have for the general public as AOC herself posted on Twitter about the death threats she receives every day from angry men, “always men”, without specifically mentioning the video:
What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire. I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.
What seems even more baffling is the team’s take on who it is that makes it to the enemies-of-freedom list, and how they have chosen to put all of them in the same basket.
If Kim Jong-Un is an enemy of freedom, why has President Trump insisted so much in making a deal with him, even meeting up with him twice and even agreeing with Kim on Joe Biden's alleged low IQ? Fidel Castro’s record on democracy is certainly questionable, yet Castro never launched any sort of attack on the United States, if anything, it was the other way around. Both of these leaders have contributed to a complicated relationship with the United States, which is why equating them to the other two images should be alarming, at best.
Anti-fascist protesters usually stand up against white supremacists, notorious for racist views, inciting violence and even killing protesters. AOC, on the other hand, is an elected official who started a grassroots movement and won her seat in Congress fair and square. Her victory has been attributed in part to how she encouraged people to hit the ballots, thus strengthening democracy and freedom, not undermining it.
The Grizzlies have naturally apologized but it's too late. The Sun-maid sign on the ballpark will surely be missed.
Cover by: @ernestomexia89