Craving some ice cream for breakfast? Well, there is some tea for you. Ben & Jerry’s, America’s favorite ice cream brand received backlash for their July 4th posts. The brand’s known social activism worked against them and sparked outrage. They posted, “this 4th of July, it’s high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it,” on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The posts were accompanied by graphics of Mount Rushmore in the background. Critics were quick to point out that the ice cream company wanted to allude to Mount Rushmore as part of the alleged stolen land from the Indigenous people.
This recent tweet and post was an attempt to bring light to the struggles of the indigenous community in land ownership. It was intentionally posted on the 4th of July as well, the celebration of the United States’ independence from Britain. Included in the post were links to the Ben & Jerry’s website. There, people can read resources on the history of Indigenous land dispossession in the US.
Netizens were quick to single out the “woke” stance of the ice cream company. As with “woke” social media posts, the comments were a mix between fans and critics. Some people were commending the brand, while others said it was “unpatriotic” and “divisive.” Especially since it was made on the 4th of July.
Their tweet also reignited the debates on colonialism and its after effects, especially in the United States. People were saying that the country and Americans should focus on moving forward and facing the future. While others say the country should be held liable for its colonial past.
While their stance on social issues were clear, Ben & Jerry’s stayed surprisingly quiet about the backlash they have been getting. After all, this is not news to them.
The company has been known to voice out about social and environmental issues before. For example, in 2021, the company said they are stopping ice cream distribution in the West Bank area occupied by Israelis during the height of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The recent debate sparked by Ben & Jerry’s tweet is a testament to how complex the history of the United States is. The people are torn as to how they should react. Supporters say Ben & Jerry’s are brave for bringing social issues to light. But again, others are saying they went too far with their 4th of July posts.
Here are some tweets in response to the posts:
“Thank you, Ben & Jerry’s, for speaking out about the truth of this country’s history.”
“This is the kind of wokeness I can get behind.”
“Ben & Jerry’s is always on the right side of history.”
“This is unpatriotic and divisive.”
“Ben & Jerry’s is trying to cancel America.”
“This is just another example of cancel culture gone mad.”
Twitter’s Cancel Culture
Although Ben & Jerry’s tweet was controversial, people were still questioning whether they deserved to be “canceled” on the internet. Unlike the ice cream company, some other brands were canceled righteously, according to Twitter.
An example of the internet’s cancel culture is the 2017 incident with L’Oreal Paris. The brand’s model, Munroe Bergdorf, posted on Facebook promoting white supremacy. It spread like wildfire and the internet did its job in cancelling her and the brand. In response, L’Oreal Paris fired Bergdorf and the internet prevailed.
Another controversial incident involved well known sports brand, Nike. The brand released an advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback in 2018. Kaepernick became controversial for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in a game. He was protesting the rampant police brutality, which was a big issue. Nike was slammed for allegedly supporting Kaepernick’s political beliefs. However, Nike was able to bounce back and actually made more sales because of the conversation the ad started.
The Aftermath of Ben & Jerry’s Tweet
Ben & Jerry’s controversial posts had very real consequences financially. The company’s stock price reportedly plummeted as of July 7th, three days after the company tweeted.
The tweet caused Ben & Jerry’s stock price to fall by 6% on the 7th, before finally stabilizing at 3.5% by the end of Thursday. The plummet was said to be caused by investors fearful of alienating consumers that saw the brand’s tweet.
What does this mean for Ben & Jerry’s?
Ben & Jerry’s tweet had real repercussions in the stock market. However, the company remains optimistic in the volatile nature of the industry. There is no concrete evidence that the recent backlash will affect the brand’s sales in the long-run. But the company could still recover from this setback.
But people are questioning the marketing team behind the recent social media posts. They are also uncertain on how Ben & Jerry’s activism will affect the company if another incident like this happens in the future. People are saying that because the ice cream brand has become a household name, it can afford to do controversial stunts like this without suffering from massive consequences. It all remains to be seen however.