In the wake of this weekend’s deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, Democrats and Republicans alike have publicly denounced the rise of white supremacism in the U.S. Now, another unlikely voice is coming forth to distance itself from neo-Nazism: a brand of tiki torches.
Friday night, as people marched on the University of Virginia campus to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, they weren’t carrying pitchforks or makeshift torches, but rather wielded tiki torches, best known stateside as a backyard barbecue accompaniment. The irony was not lost on Twitter, as users decried the peculiar pairing of white supremacist protesters carrying a traditional Polynesian product appropriated by suburban houses and themed restaurants nationwide.
White supremacists lit by the light of a thousand Polynesian bamboo tiki torches.— James Wong (@Botanygeek) August 13, 2017
Guess they don't teach irony in neo-nazi class.... pic.twitter.com/wEo8cj0U2u
having tiki torches at your nazi rally is definitive proof the white race is the best...— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) August 13, 2017
...at stealing from other cultures
I like it when when racists march with tiki torches, in clothes & shoes made by Asians. You can hate us but you can't escape us boo ;)— David So (@davidsocomedy) August 13, 2017
Almost immediately, tiki torches began appearing on Craigslist, though it is unclear through these screengrabs whether the original owners were trying to help supply the rally or to distance themselves from it.
But even as people made TiKKKi jokes on Twitter, the Tiki brand has been blunt and swift in its statement distancing itself from the actions of the protesters. It posted to Facebook Saturday, saying the brand “is not associated in any way” with the rally and that it is “deeply saddened and disappointed” by it.
TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and...Posted by TIKI Brand Products on Saturday, August 12, 2017
The comments beneath the post are flooded with gratitude from customers, celebrating the brand for taking a stand against hatred and racism. Dozens of people, on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr alike, commented that the brand had taken a more fervent stance against white supremacism than President Donald Trump, who on Saturday merely condemned the hatred and violence “on many sides.”
Things I find myself saying in 2017, part n: "The Tiki torch company's statement on nazis was weak, but still better than the President's."— Brian Danger Hicks 🏴☠️ (@crazyunlikeafox) August 14, 2017
Friday morning, Tiki had kicked off the weekend with a post inviting fans to “bring the party and we’ll provide the ambience.”
Bring the party and we'll provide the ambiance. #TIKIBrandPosted by TIKI Brand Products on Friday, August 11, 2017
Maybe next time it’ll be more specific.