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Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Did judge make racist joke? TRUTH behind Asian food reference

Judge Bruce Schroeder made fun of supply chain crisis prior to lunch breaks, furious Internet says 'he needs to stop drawing attention to himself'
UPDATED NOV 13, 2021
Judge Bruce Schroeder makes his way to the bench at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 4, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin (Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)
Judge Bruce Schroeder makes his way to the bench at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 4, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin (Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)

Even before the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse began, Judge Bruce Schroeder was drawing a lot of attention to himself. Initially, he refused to issue an arrest warrant for Rittenhouse's rearrest and then ordered the prosecution to not call refer to the people Rittenhouse shot as "victims". With the trial now well underway, he's repeatedly become a news story himself, with the latest incident unfolding just prior to the lunch break on November 11.

The judge first drew widespread condemnation earlier that day for his ringtone. While the court was in session, his phone rang, revealing his ringtone to be the Trump-themed 'God bless the USA'. Then, he got into a bit of a fight with the lead prosecutor Thomas Binger, and at one point agreed to take the defense's request for a mistrial "under advisement". The incidents have left many online furious with the judge, calling him everything from "racist" to an "ally" for Rittenhouse.


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The judge only added to those allegations with his off-the-cuff remarks just ahead of the lunch break. Almost instantly, the moment was widely circulated on social media and added more fuel to the fire. Here's everything we know about his allegedly racist quip and what the Internet is saying.

Judge Bruce Schroeder is seated in front of a large video monitor in Kenosha (Wisconsin) Circuit Court on November 12, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Mark Hertzberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Truth behind judge's 'racist' quip

Just before the lunch break, the judge can be heard telling the court, "I hope the Asian food isn’t coming ... isn’t on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor." It's very evident he's referring to the supply chain crisis, with thousands of boats stuck in California ports with items from Asia. Video footage shows that he made that quip in response to a question about the lunch break itself. "Let's hope for one o'clock," he replies when asked by Binger "what time you wanna stop?"

The judge hasn't addressed the quip, so we can't be sure what exactly he meant by it. That uncertainty is what has led to such widespread condemnation online, with many calling it a "racist" and "anti-Asian" sentiment. Here's a look at the moment so you can see for yourself what happened-


While many have slammed the judge, a handful of users have also come out to defend him, noting that it was merely a poor joke about the supply chain crisis. Others noted the hypocrisy of people defending Biden for his use of the n-word during his Veterans Day speech but slamming Judge Schroeder for the joke. The truth is that it was just a poor joke, but whether or not you consider it racist, depends on your point of view. 

'A mistrial should be called'

"Racist, me thinks, the judge, is. Murder trial judge for #KyleRittenhouse says— “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor”. What a complete joke and circus this #KyleRittenhouseTrial now is," one person tweeted. Another slammed, "I’m offended and resent Judge Schroeder’s quip that he hoped the Asian food ordered for lunch for the jurors in the #KyleRittenhouseTrial wasn’t stuck on a boat off the west coast. Enough is enough. He needs to stop drawing attention to himself. This trial is not about him."



"Judge Bruce Schroeder continues to prove just how MAGA he is. It's no wonder he protects Kyle Rittenhouse, he's just as racist as him w/ this Asian joke in the courtroom! “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming … isn’t on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor." FFS," one angry user tweeted. Another said, "Judge Bruce Schroeder’s lunch (Asian food) is not stuck at the Port of Long Beach. He is stuck in the 1950’s and has consistently revealed himself to be an inept judge and a racist bigot." One user commented, "A mistrial should be called and this racist, BIGOTED judge pulled from the bench! What a massive shameful disgrace of a, human."




So was the joke the judge made racist? We'll let you decide. But either way, the controversy continues to hang over the already controversial trial, which so far, isn't going very good for the prosecution. Many have blamed the judge's early decisions for helping Rittenhouse and now with the specter of a mistrial, it does seem like a possibility he will walk away a free man.