Heineken USA, brewers of the Tecate and Dos Equis beer brands, pulled out of its sponsorship deal with the Fresno Grizzlies in the wake of Monday’s Memorial Day video controversy.
The baseball team showed on the Chukchansi Park scoreboard a seemingly patriotic message, featuring a 1981 speech by President Ronald Reagan, accompanied by music and images. However, the video also featured pictures of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Their images flashed when Reagan spoke of America’s enemies.
“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,” Heineken USA spokesman Thomas Hunt said.
Withdrawal Follows Sun-Maid Decision
Heineken followed Sun-Maid Raisins, which cut its ties to the team on Wednesday for similar reasons.
The Grizzlies offered no comment on the news.
Shortly after Monday’s airing, the team apologized saying it played the video in error. The team said the employee responsible for selecting the video was “reprimanded” and there was no political motivation. The same video could be found on YouTube.
In addition to signage around the stadium, Dos Equis sponsored a “Dos Equis, Dos Tacos Thursdays” promotion, offering fans taco vouchers with a beer purchase.
In an email from a spokesman, the brewer declined to describe the nature of its sponsorship deal with the team.