Sun-Maid raisins has terminated its sponsorship with the Fresno Grizzlies after the minor league baseball team aired a Memorial Day video that depicted US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among the country’s “enemies of freedom.”
The company said in a statement that the decision to pull the sponsorship was not political but rather “the right thing to do.”
“We have discussed our position with Grizzlies management and wish them well as they manage through this matter,” the statement said.
The video, which aired at a Fresno Grizzlies game on Memorial Day, showed an image of the Democratic House member alongside North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the late Cuban President Fidel Castro.
The images were shown over audio excerpts from President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inaugural address. Ocasio-Cortez appeared on screen as Reagan said that “enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries” will be “reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people.”
The Fresno Grizzlies apologized to Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet on Tuesday.
“We’re embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first,” the Grizzlies’ tweet read. “We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) in addition to our fans, community and those we hurt.”
The team said in a statement that the video was produced from an outside source and apologized for not properly vetting it.
“Unfortunately what was supposed to be a moving tribute ended with some misleading and offensive editing, which made a statement that was not our intent and certainly not our opinion,” the statement read.
Ocasio-Cortez responded on Tuesday in a statement on Twitter.
“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,” the New York lawmaker wrote. “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.”
The website for the Grizzlies still lists Coca-Cola, Tecate and the Fresno Bee as sponsors.