Levi's, Best Buy slammed for giving staff counseling after Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal

Rittenhouse was freed of all charges on November 19 after being accused of shooting three men in August 2020

                            Levi's, Best Buy slammed for giving staff counseling after Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal
Levi Strauss and Best Buy has offered support to their staff after Kyle Rittenhouse verdict (Getty Images/ Justin Sullivan, Octavio Jones, and Sean Krajacic - Pool)

Levi Strauss and Best Buy have reportedly faced a lot of flak online after providing counseling services to employees who got troubled over the acquittal verdict of Kyle Rittenhouse. The teenager was freed of all charges on November 19 after being accused of shooting three men in August 2020 during racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 lost their lives after the shooting, Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, suffered injuries.

People took to Twitter to slam the two companies who sent out emails to the employees for emotional as well as mental support. A user tweeted, "I started boycoting Target after they band salvation. Army. I have a larger list these days. Coke, Levi Strauss, Netflix, and more." Another one wrote, "What the Hell? A white guy shoots a 3 white guys & Levi Strauss is providing 'racial trauma counseling' to their employees! This is pathetic! Black kids shooting black kids must not matter to them."


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Criticizing Best Buy, a person commented: "@BestBuy is actually offering counseling to employees for the jury getting the verdict in the Rittenhouse trial correct. They just lost a long standing customer in me." The second one added, 
"After hearing of your 'counseling' for employees who are triggered by the rittenhouse verdict, I'm no longer going to purchase at BestBuy."









The negative reactions came after Elizabeth Morrison, Levi's chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer sent an email to the staff members saying: “With the news that Kyle Rittenhouse was not convicted in the shooting of three individuals — two of whom lost their lives — during racial justice protests last year, this is a difficult day for many. The pain and trauma of race, identity and belief-based tragedies is a reality that many of us are struggling with on an ongoing basis. It can feel physically, mentally and emotionally draining to continue to relive these moments, and I want you to know, it's okay to not be okay.”

She continued, “To help promote safety, sharing and to encourage healing, I'll be hosting a fireside chat and Q&A with Dr. Jamila Codrington, a licensed psychologist and racial trauma specialist in early December. Dr. J and I will talk about the mental and psychical impacts of back-to-back social and racial justice events and trauma coping mechanisms during our discussion.”

Morrison also asked the workers of the San Francisco-based clothing company to get help from a “trained counsel,” before adding that they should use “resources to help [employees] impact social justice, equality and drive positive change,” including “getting educated and informed on the issue of gun violence" and "reaching out to your elected officials to let them know just how important common-sense gun laws are to you.”

A spokesperson for Levi’s confirmed this to Fox News and stated that the “email was sent to all US employees and that the purpose of the fireside chat is accurately described in the email”.

Similarly, the Electronics superstore chain Best Buy came out to support its employees by offering “mental health resources” and “counseling services” after the verdict. An email, written by Mark Irvin, Best Buy’s Chief inclusion talent and diversity officer, read, “The verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial stirs many emotions, and it's another difficult moment for our nation. While these events can be challenging and deeply hurtful, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the values that unite us as a company and as a nation. We can do better, as each of us as individuals, allies and human beings press together for better outcomes.”

He also noted, “I know events like these can take a toll on mental health and emotional well-being. Please know that best Buy is here to support you.” Irvin’s email also included links to counseling services and mental health resources as he concluded: “By engaging together, and supporting one another in vulnerability, empathy, courage, and grace, we can continue to strengthen our company and community to stand together as one. Steadfast together.”

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