By Thomas Barrabi Published May 30, 2019 Sports FOX Business
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Raisin company Sun-Maid and beer brands Tecate and Dos Equis pulled their sponsorships of the Washington Nationals’ Class AAA minor-league baseball Opens a New Window. affiliate this week after the team aired a video that placed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,Opens a New Window. alongside Kim Jong Un and Fidel Castro as “enemies of freedom.”
The Fresno Grizzlies faced widespread public criticism for the video, which aired on their stadium’s video scoreboard during a Memorial Day doubleheader. The video featured patriotic imagery, such as footage from President Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address, before shifting to a critical depiction of Ocasio-Cortez alongside the foreign dictators.
“Both Tecate and Dos Equis were sponsors of the Fresno Grizzlies. We do not support those views expressed in the video, that was aired during the Fresno Grizzlies game on Memorial Day. For that reason, we have ended this relationship, effective immediately and have let the team know of our decision,” a spokesman for Heineken, the parent company of the beer brands, said in a statement to FOX Business.
Sun-Maid was the first sponsor to pull its deal with the Grizzlies, noting Wednesday that it was “deeply disappointed” by the video.
“Sun-Maid does not support the views or sentiments expressed in the video, nor does it condone the airing of it. While the Grizzlies have apologized for this mistake, we are standing on the side of what we believe is right and terminating our sponsorship of the team.,” Sun-Maid said in a statement first obtained by the Sacramento BeeOpens a New Window.
Ocasio-Cortez personally addressed the video while responding to a tweet. The freshman congresswoman said she has received death threats over “hateful messages” broadcast by organizations.
The Grizzlies issued a lengthy apology for the video on Wednesday, noting that the in-stadium broadcast was a “grievous error” and that the team had not produced the video.
“The video was not produced, created or commissioned by the Fresno Grizzlies. It was carelessly taken from YouTube,” the Grizzlies said. “There are multiple versions of this video available on the internet, the version that our employee selected contained offensive content. The airing of the video in the ballpark was the result of an unintentional oversight by an employee who did not view the video in its entirety. The employee responsible has been reprimanded by the organization.”
Sun-Maid had prominent advertisements in the Grizzlies’ home stadium, Chukchansi Park. The Grizzlies’ website also lists Coca-Cola among its major sponsors.
Representatives for the Nationals and Coca-Cola did not immediately return requests for comment.