Kyle Rittenhouse’s family says that the online vendors approached to assist in the production and marketing of the teenager’s merchandise have declined to participate or pulled out.
The Rittenhouses say that the actions of the vendors undermined their efforts to raise Kyle’s defense money. The family needs $2 million to fund the defense team fighting to free the 17-year-old from five felonies and one misdemeanor charge.
The "Free Kyle" marketing campaign produced branded hats, mugs, T-shirts, and phone cases sold through various online dropshipping sites. Printiful pulled out of the campaign citing the “controversial” nature of the “FREE KYLE" logo and the "Self-defense is a right, not a privilege” slogan.
“Our printing platform, Printiful, has placed all unfulfilled orders on hold and denied any additional orders. They say it is because our merchandise violates their ‘Acceptable Use’ policy,” the FreeKyleUSA Twitter account posted.
Pierce also reportedly posted an email in which, Printiful said that the “Free Kyle” account he maintained with the company, violated its terms against “content that condones or promotes violence." Printiful also confirmed its decision in a statement posted online.
“We have chosen to discontinue our business relationship with this store in order to mitigate business risk. Ultimately, we don’t want to be affiliated with a story that’s involved in such a complex, controversial and ongoing case,” the statement read.
Printiful added that it was “following the example of other businesses and platforms taking a similar approach, like GoFundMe, Etsy, Facebook, and YouTube.”
Additionally, the family’s lawyer, John Pierce, said that the FreeKyleUSA store was also pulled offline after being de-platformed by another vendor. He described the companies boycotting Kyle’s merchandise as victims of the “Cancel culture.”
Similarly, the family described the boycott campaign as a concerted effort to prevent the truth from getting out. The Rittenhouses said they were looking for alternative avenues to produce and market Kyle's merchandise.
News media outlets reported that the boycott campaign triggered an influx of donations on the FreeKyleUSA site, amounting to $73,232.55 by the time we wrote this story.
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