You may like Black Rifle Coffee but does it like you?

When Black Rifle Coffee (“BRC”) emerged on the scene, it targeted conservatives, positioning itself as a pro-American and, eventually, pro-Trump veteran-owned company. I don’t drink coffee so it didn’t matter to me. However, some coffee drinkers may be unhappy with what the company’s executives had to say to the New York Times.

The  Times article opens by assuring its readers that BRC’s CEO, Evan Hafer, really is a MAGA kind of guy. He voted for Trump and even believed Trump’s claims about election fraud – before he saw the light thanks to Bill Barr’s declaration that there was no fraud, gave him new faith in the system. Neither the Times nor Hafer mentions the evidence of substantial fraud in Arizona and Georgia.

However, it was when Hafer saw the events at the Capitol that The Times says that he suddenly realized that his brand had been stolen by extremists. He won’t call it an “insurrection” because his service in the military and the CIA showed him the real deal, he was horrified to see someone with BRC’s logo:

The photo showed a masked man vaulting over a banister holding several sets of plastic restraints, an apparent sign that the insurrectionists planned to take lawmakers hostage. The unidentified man, soon dubbed “zip-tie guy,” was dressed in a tactical vest, carried a Taser and wore a baseball hat with an image of an assault rifle silhouetted against an American flag — a design sold by the Black Rifle Coffee Company, of which Hafer is the chief executive. “I was like, Oh, [expletive],” he recalled. “Here we go again.”

What the New York Times doesn’t mention is that this characterization of the “zip-tie guy” is a lie. Glenn Greenwald points out that even the prosecution has admitted that Eric Munchel – the “zip-tie” guy – found the ties on a table inside the Capitol and grabbed them. He wasn’t part of a premeditated plot to terrorize people in the Capitol. And yet he’s still in prison without trial.

The Times acknowledges that BRC aggressively sought conservative customers:

The company billed itself as pro-military, pro-law enforcement and “anti-hipster.” Early customers could download a shooting target from the company’s Facebook page that featured a bowtied man with a handlebar mustache. Its early coffees included the Silencer Smooth roast and the AK-47 Espresso blend. During Trump’s presidency, Black Rifle’s gleeful provocations grew more directly political. It endorsed Trump’s Muslim ban and bought Google ads based on searches for “Covfefe.” ... Before long, Black Rifle became the unofficial coffee of the MAGA universe, winning public endorsements from Sean Hannity and Donald Trump Jr.

Despite all this intense marketing, even before January 6, the BRC guys weren’t pleased that Kyle Rittenhouse wore one of their logoed products. Regular readers of American Thinker know that Rittenhouse showed up in Kenosha during the BLM riots with a first aid kit and a desire to help businesses protect themselves from the mob and that he showed spectacular rifle control, shooting only when his life was threatened. BRC instantly tried to distance itself from him.

Conservatives weren’t pleased. The more volatile among them struck back. One of those who disparaged Hafer was Nick Fuentes, who is part Hispanic, but whom the Times describes without irony as a “white-nationalist.” I know nothing about Nick Fuentes, but I do know that traditional white-nationalists don’t include Hispanic people. Shamefully, according to the Times, some angry customers made anti-Semitic attacks against Hafer, who is Jewish.

BRC is now having an image crisis:

“How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era,” Hafer wondered aloud, “without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?”

The article takes a boring walk through the way leftist companies have politicized everything and then gets back to BRC: “In retrospect, the market opportunity that Black Rifle sought to exploit when it started in 2014 seems blindingly obvious.” BRC wasn’t just selling coffee and logo wear, it was selling raw American conservativism, and Trump’s pro-America stance fit right in with that.

The only problem for the coffee guys is that, as the culture wars have divided America, they seem to have decided they don’t like many of the people on their side – and they want New York Times readers to know it:

“You can’t let sections of your customers hijack your brand and say, ‘This is who you are,’” [Mat] Best [Executive V.P.] told me. “It’s like, no, no, we define that.” The Rittenhouse episode may have cost the company thousands of customers, but, Hafer believed, it also allowed Black Rifle to draw a line in the sand. “It’s such a repugnant group of people,” Hafer said. “It’s like the worst of American society, and I got to flush the toilet of some of those people that kind of hijacked portions of the brand.” Then again, what Hafer insisted was a “superclear delineation” was not too clear to everyone, as Munchel’s choice of headgear vividly demonstrated.

“The racism [expletive] really pisses me off,” Hafer said. “I hate racist, Proud Boy-ish people. Like, I’ll pay them to leave my customer base. I would gladly chop all of those people out of my [expletive] customer database and pay them to get the [expletive] out.” 

Conservatives who learned about the article were not pleased:

Some were downright suspicious:

As for me, I have to ask -- Dear Messrs. Hafer and Best: If you really hate racists, why are you talking to the New York Times? The Times and its readers are all in for Critical Race Theory, an ideology so racist that even the KKK might find it too extreme. Just curious....

UPDATE: Evan Hafer put out an Instagram video (which, interestingly, he did not include on Black Rifle's YouTube channel) pushing back against the New York Times article and the way conservatives interpreted it. Since Instagram won't post on our server, you can see the video here. I wasn't too impressed beginning with the fact that they thought it would be wise to talk to the New York Times at all. Could they really have been so naive that they thought it would be honest reporting? 

What struck me most was what Hafer had to say about the antisemitic attacks (which is absolutely despicable). He said they happened because of his name and heritage. That's not how someone Jewish talks. A Jewish person says, "It happened because I'm Jewish." The way Hafer speaks, he sounds like someone who has converted or who has Jewish ancestors (and nothing's wrong with that, by the way). Why, then, did the Times article say Hafer is Jewish?  Again, funny stuff.

You must make your own decisions. I don't drink coffee so I have no dog in this fight. I would suggest, though, that if the Times article really twisted everything so much, Hafer and Black Rifle Coffee should fire back directly and strongly against the Times, rather than doing an Instagram video explaining the confusion.

IMAGE: Black Rifle Coffee sells coffee and logo wear. BRC screen grab (cropped).

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