'Beyond hypocritical': Charlie Kirk’s recent Pastors Summit was funded by a 'registered sex offender'
Right-wing host and Turning Point USA Chief Executive Officer Charlie Kirk' second-annual Pastors Summit, held in Nashville, Tennessee, was sponsored by "a registered sex offender," Rolling Stone reports.
Rolling Stone notes Kirk has been outspoken amid conservative-led criticism of Target for selling transgender-inclusive youth apparel, alleging the corporation shows "support for grooming kids."
The publication reports:
Rolling Stone has learned that one of the TPUSA summit's corporate sponsors is a Christian fashion company that is led by a registered sex offender, Shawn Bergstrand, who served time in federal prison for attempted 'coercion and enticement' after trying to persuade 'a minor female” to 'engage in sexual activity.'
CEO if Rightside Up — a "Christian 'lifestyle apparel' company" — Bergstrand is "a registered sex offender in North Dakota," after being "convicted in 2014 for attempted 'coercion and enticement.'"
Per Rolling Stone, "a redacted indictment shows" the CEO "was originally charged with attempting to 'entice and coerce a minor female … to engage in prostitution and sexual activity,'" and "despite facing a maximum of 20 years in jail," he "received a sentence of one year in prison, and five years of supervised release."
However, Bergstrand "was discharged from supervision more than a year early in 2018."
University of North Georgia professor Matthew Boedy revealed the sex offender's connection to TPUSA to Rolling Stone, saying, "I'm all for second chances and paying your debt to society. Even perhaps creating a brand based on how you overcame your own terrible decisions. But for Turning Point and Charlie Kirk to highlight this particular person — whose crime involved a child and attempted sexual acts — while decrying 'groomers' and sending mobs to stores who sell products they don’t like, is beyond hypocritical."
The professor added, "It's even more outrageous that this business was promoted to a group of pastors who likely had no idea of this person's story. I can only hope Kirk practices what he preaches and takes responsibility."
Kirk, in response to Rolling Stone's reporting, said during the summit, "First of all, it's not my Turning Point. It's the Lord’s Turning Point. I am both a Christian and a nationalist, but most importantly, I'm a Christian."
Rolling Stone's full report is available at this link (subscription required).
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