Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s was slammed on social media for voicing its corporate opinion on the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse last week, in which it spread false information relating to the case.
“The #RittenhouseTrial displays yet again that our ‘justice’ system is racist. How would this trial be going if he was a Black 17 yr old that crossed state lines illegally carrying an AR-15 and shot 3 white protesters? We need real justice in the legal system. This isn’t it,” the ice cream maker said from its official account last week.
Critics pointed out that the falsehood spread by the social media account, in that Rittenhouse supposedly carried his rifle across state lines before the shooting. As the trial itself reveals, Rittenhouse did not bring his rifle across state lines.
On Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is presiding over the Rittenhouse trial, found that Rittenhouse lawfully carried an AR-15 on the night of the shooting. In other words, it was not against the law for him to be openly carrying a gun around.
The legal blog, Legal Insurrection, which has covered the Rittenhouse trial, declared “Lies, Hate and Ice Cream.”
“Again, this case has nothing to do with race. These people have broken brains and have normalized an idiotic and bigoted view of the world. And now major brands promote this garbage,” wrote conservative pundit AG Hamilton. “And btw they don’t even know the basic facts of the case. No one crossed state lines with an AR-15. @benandjerrys has devoted an insane amount of time promoting garbage and I hope their consumers take note.”
“The whole narrative blew up in their faces so they’ve now created a fictional teenager and story to fit the old one,” said podcaster Stephen Miller.
Kyle Rittenhouse is currently on trial for the deaths of two men, and wounding a third during last year’s violent riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His defence maintains that the teenager acted in self-defence, while prosecutors insist that his actions were made with the intent to go out to cause trouble and kill innocent protestors.
The Ben & Jerry’s tweet hinges on the narrative that has been debunked since October 2020, when the State’s Attorney Office for Illinois cleared Rittenhouse of the allegation that he had crossed state lines with a firearm.
“An extensive investigation was conducted by the Antioch Police Department regarding the gun used in a shooting in Kenosha on Aug. 28. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has reviewed that investigation to determine if any crimes were committed in Lake County, Illinois,” the office stated in a press release. “To that end, the investigation revealed the gun used in the Kenosha shooting was purchased, stored and used in Wisconsin,” the state's attorney office said.
“Additionally, there is no evidence the gun was ever physically possessed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois.”