A coffee brand designed for conservatives and American patriots is undergoing a remarkable shift, calling out some of its customers as "such a repugnant group of people" in The New York Times Magazine.
"The executives behind @blckriflecoffee, a coffee and lifestyle brand hugely popular with conservatives, has some choice words to describe part of its customer base," conservative journalism Andy Ngo tweeted.
Black Rifle Coffee was founded in 2014 by three U.S. veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be pro-military, pro-firearm, pro-law enforcement, and "anti-hipster."
Hailed by President Donald Trump in 2017 and endorsed by Sean Hannity and Donald Trump Jr., it was even billed by the Times as "Starbucks of the Right," but a magazine feature story noted in its subheadline: "The company doubled its sales last year by leaning into America's culture war. It's also trying to distance itself from some of its new customers."
"What I figured out the last couple of years is that being really political, in the sense of backing an individual politician or any individual party, is really [expletive] detrimental," company CEO Evan Hafer, a former Green Beret and C.I.A. contractor, told the Times. "And it's detrimental to the company. And it's detrimental, ultimately, to my mission."
Ngô, a prominent figure covering Black Lives Matter and antifa protests – even being assaulted and abused in riots by individuals from those hostile groups – took note of how the Times' feature showed Hafer and other founders breaking from its conservative brand's target consumers.
"You can't let sections of your customers hijack your brand and say, 'This is who you are, it’s like, no, no we define that," Hafer defiantly told the Times.
"It's such a repugnant group of people. 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."
Hafer denounced public support from Kyle Rittenhouse – who killed two social justice protesters last summer and wore a Black Rifle shirt at his release on bail – and conservatives against the BLM movement.
"The racism [expletive] really pisses me off," Hafer, who is Jewish, told the Times. "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."
Black Rifle hats and t-shirts also showed up at the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol as an unidentified protester that became known as "zip-tie guy" potentially sought to take lawmakers hostage.
"I was like, Oh, [expletive]," Hafer recalled to the Times. "Here we go again."
Hafer, 44, did salvage some of his respect for protesters, noting the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol was not an insurrection as it had been made out to be politically.
"You're told by the commander in chief for months that the election was stolen, so you're going to have a group of people that are really pissed," he told the Times.
"I've seen an insurrection," the veteran added. "I know what that looks like."
The likelihood of a Black Rifle brand deserting conservatives for liberals is a long shot, particularly for those on the left denouncing gun rights activists.
Early customers could download a shooting target from its social media ads and the coffee sold Silencer Smooth roast and the AK-47 Espresso blend.
"Every brand, name the brand, it was probably there: Walmart jeans, Nike shoes," Hafer told the Times of the Jan. 6 photos and videos of protesters. "And then it's like one patch from our company. There's certain terrorist organizations that wear American brands when they go behead Americans. Do you think they want to be a part of that? And I'm not drawing a parallel between the two. I'm just simply saying there are things in business, when you grow, that are completely outside your control."
In fact, Black Rifle apparel was how "zip-tie guy" was revealed to law enforcement to be Tennessean Eric Munchel, 30, according to the FBI.
The 13-page affidavit for Munchel's arrest mentioned the words "handgun," "shotgun" once, "Trump" twice, "Taser" three times, and "Black Rifle Coffee Company" four times, the Times reported.
"I would never want my brand to be represented in that way, shape or form, because that’s not me," Hafer said, adding his brand "is much bigger" than "a hat in the [expletive] Capitol."
"How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era, without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?" Hafer lamented to the Times.
One-time Twitter user, Nick Fuentes, who has had his account suspended, denounced Black Rifle Coffee for being "grifters."
"The people that run Black Rifle Coffee are no different than most scammers involved in the conservative grift," Fuentes wrote in a Tweet reported by the Times but unavailable to be seen on his suspended account.
"They're giant d***** bag posers in flip flops and baseball caps. When push comes to shove they are [expletive] liberals."
Hafer even admitted multiple times to the Times: "I'm a man without a party now."
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