Far-right groups have shared an unhealthy image of Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on charges of murdering two men in Wisconsin, superimposed on Conor McGregor’s body.
he bizarre image has circulated online to celebrate Rittenhouse’s not guilty verdict in a case that shocked America.
They manipulated McGregor’s image for their own ends even though the Irishman had nothing to do with it.
A 12-member jury concluded that Mr Rittenhouse (18) acted in self-defense when he shot two people, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, and Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin at an anti-racist rally in Kenosha in 2020.
A third protester, Gaige Grosskreutz (27), from West Allis, was injured.
Rittenhouse had traveled from Illinois to Kenosha with an illegally purchased gun to act as a vigilante during a period of protests in August 2020.
They were triggered after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was left partially paralyzed when a white policeman shot him seven times in the back outside an apartment complex.
President Joe Biden warned of “violence” over Rittenhouse’s acquittal, acknowledging the verdict had left him and “many Americans are feeling angry and worried.”
Shannon Watts, founder of gun control group Moms Demand Action, was also among those who spoke out against the not guilty verdict.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the verdict “disgusting.”
“It sends a horrible message to this country,” De Blasio said. “To call it a miscarriage of justice is an understatement. ”
The NAACP, the African-American civil rights group, said the verdict is a “travesty and does not do justice on behalf of those who have lost their lives.”
However, some Republican politicians have welcomed the not guilty verdict.
“Justice has been served,” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said.
“I hope everyone can accept the verdict, stay peaceful, and let the Kenosha community heal and rebuild itself.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, among many other conservatives, has defended Rittenhouse’s actions.
“How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with guns decided they had to keep order when no one else would,” he said in August 2020.
Other far-right forum members known for their racist and white supremacist rhetoric were quick to celebrate Rittenhouse’s acquittal, with many even suggesting the teen should run for president in the future.
According to US news site Insider, the top 18 posts on a fringe forum Friday afternoon were all positive reactions to Rittenhouse’s acquittal, with the main threads amassing more than 2,500 likes each.
One of the best forum posts featured a two and a half minute house song in support of Rittenhouse called “Ballad of the Kenosha Kid”.
The lyrics contain a transphobic insult and lines about how Rittenhouse wore “an AR on his sleeve”.
Other users have suggested that Rittenhouse should sue “the media” for covering the incident and his trial while one person wrote that his name “will live in glory.”
Commentators on the forum said Rittenhouse didn’t deserve to go to court in the first place and applauded him for going through the trial and “everything he’s been through.”
Others on the same fringe forum, as well as social media platform Gab, which is popular on the right, called on Rittenhouse to run for president, writing comments like “#KyleForPresident” and “Rittenhouse 2028”.
Many users of a popular Telegram channel with over 425,000 subscribers created by prominent conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins, who is linked to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, also praised the jury’s decision and encouraged shoot the “rioters”.
Insider also found numerous posts on a fringe forum calling Rittenhouse “Saint Kyle of Kenosha” with a photo of Rittenhouse’s face pasted to a picture of a saint.
Another image released online shows his head superimposed on McGregor’s body from a photo of the Dublin fighter doing his famous strut in the Octagon.
Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, said in a tweet that she believed the verdict would lead to “a serious increase in street violence,” vigilantism and political violence. “
Download the Sunday World app
Download now the free app for all the latest news from the world of Sunday, Crime, Irish Showbiz & Sports. Available on Apple and Android devices