Since his acquittal in November, Kyle Rittenhouse has made numerous media appearances to discuss the trial, his own feelings, and his future endeavors.
There are some merits to these media appearances. Discussions about the smear campaign that was coordinated against Rittenhouse are useful to display media malfeasance. However, some media figures care much less about the substance that can be gleaned from these discussions and more about getting clicks. Kyle Rittenhouse is being used by some as a celebrity, and the hype that surrounded the trial is being harnessed by companies who wish to attract attention to their own brand.
Even before he had a court date, Rittenhouse was being targeted by individuals who wanted to use his name to benefit their own pursuits.
Rittenhouse was initially represented by Lin Wood and John Pierce, two attorneys who have become “QAnon” celebrities over the past year. Both lawyers were later fired for leaving Rittenhouse in jail for 87 days, raising money for themselves under the guise of a bail fund, and abusing the platform given to them by infiltrating conspiracies into their messaging.
Rittenhouse was able to realize their true motivations because Wood and Pierce materially wronged him. Yet, when it comes to those in the media who want to use him as a piece of programming, it doesn’t seem Rittenhouse has had the same epiphany.
Although Rittenhouse has made it clear that he does not wish “to be congratulated” on his acts of self defense, and that he wishes he “wouldn’t have had to take somebody’s life,” he certainly has not been reluctant to attend events celebrating him as a right wing icon.
The Blaze TV podcast You Are Here had Rittenhouse on for an episode where the conversation about the trial itself quickly devolved into inquiries about Rittenhouse losing his virginity and whether he likes girls “curvy or thin.” Steven Crowder also inquired about Rittenhouse’s sexual preferences on his podcast.
At their December “AmericaFest” conference, Turning Point USA unleashed the spectacle of Kyle Rittenhouse, parading him out with music, confetti, pyrotechnics, and air horns. Of course, it was met with standing ovation.
Adults inquiring about a teenager’s sexuality is unprofessional and creepy as is. But it also reveals that the focus of these individuals is even more so inappropriate. It’s not about self-defense or justice to them, but rather about viral clips of the political celebrity du jour.
Groups like Turning Point USA and Blaze Media understand that harnessing the attention garnered by the trial is a good marketing strategy. Their intention is not purely to broadcast the voice of Rittenhouse, it is to use his voice and notoriety to promote their own brand.
He was being used by Lin Wood and he is being used by Charlie Kirk and Steven Crowder. The only difference, now, is that Rittenhouse is benefitting from the publicity. While Rittenhouse is ultimately responsible for how he conducts himself in the media, the conservative “icons” that are inflating his ego deserve their fair share of the blame.
This sort of publicity could encourage more kids to act as Rittenhouse did, putting themselves in dangerous situations where they may be forced to take a life. Rittenhouse, under his own admission, was foolish to have been in Kenosha that night and we should not glorify his actions even if they were lawful.
A discussion about Rittenhouse’s actions, their legality, and the attempts from powerful individuals to smear Rittenhouse are one thing. However, many want to celebrate Rittenhouse as a personality of the conservative movement, which I believe is a road better left untraveled.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.