The event, a “rally against censorship,” was supposed to take place at the end of January. But after the Southern Star Brewery in Conroe, Texas, learned that Rittenhouse was going to be featured at the event, the brewery decided to cancel the event.
Rittenhouse was acquitted in 2021 after being found not guilty of killing two men and seriously injuring a third during a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin.
Dave Fougeron, the CEO of Southern Star Brewery, stood by the decision to cancel the event, telling NewsNation it was a business decision.
Fougeron explained that his team was approached by a publishing company to rent out their facility for a private event. At the time of booking, Fougeron was told it was a freedom of speech rally, and there was no mention that Rittenhouse was going to be there.
He said he discovered the news through a local newspaper that had published an article about the event taking place at the brewery.
“A lot of our paying customers contacted us and were expressing concern that we were going to have this and they said that they wouldn’t be buying out product anymore,” Fougeron said. “This wasn’t a cancellation at all, this was a business decision.”
He said he weighed the costs and benefits of what his customers wanted and saw the decision as a customer service move.
“We certainly didn’t censor him,” Fougeron said. “We reserve the right to deny rental to anybody. And we don’t usually make it a policy to vet who’s running our facility.”
However, Rittenhouse responded to the brewery’s announcement on Twitter to discontinue the event, tweeting his disappointment.
“It’s really disappointing to see that places continue to censor me and not allow my voice and many other voices to be heard because they bend to the woke crowd,” Rittenhouse said.
But Fougeron backed his decision and said that he and his team are “pretty apolitical.” He reassured the decision was based on his customers’ reactions.
“Personally, it had nothing to do with Mr. Rittenhouse. I’m sure that some of my customers were upset that we were having him. I had no idea he was such a firebrand. I haven’t been following him,” he said.
Fougerson said he has received criticism and threats, but mostly from the right. He explained that the people hosting the event are spreading disinformation about him and his brewery.
“I am 100% sure I made the right decision now that these people have shown their true nature. They have been dishonest with me. And you know when I called the gentleman that was starting the rally and explained to him that we were canceling, he pretty much said ‘I’m going to use this against you’ and he’s doing as best he can to, you know, use us to what I see further his political agenda,” Fougerson said.
Rittenhouse announced Sunday that the rally against censorship will now be held at the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe, Texas.