Dried fruits company Sun-Maid dropped its sponsorship of the Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team, on Wednesday evening after the team aired a Memorial Day tribute video during a game that listed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as one of the “enemies of freedom.”
“We are deeply disappointed by the Memorial Day tribute video the Fresno Grizzlies aired on Monday,” Sun-Maid said in a statement to the Fresno Bee. “Sun-Maid does not support the views or sentiments expressed in the video, nor does it condone the airing of it.”
In the video, former President Ronald Reagan is heard denouncing “enemies of freedom” while a photo of Ocasio-Cortez flashes between images of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The Grizzlies apologized for “not properly vetting” the video before broadcasting it and said that the employee behind the tribute had been reprimanded. The team also apologized to Ocasio-Cortez, saying that “it was a mistake and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.”
The congresswoman slammed the video as fodder for more death threats against her.
“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,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “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.”
Sun-Maid acknowledged the team’s apology, but stood by its decision to pull its sponsorship.
“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,” the company told the Fresno Bee.