When the Occupy movement launched a few weeks ago, they immediately got a boost from Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
We, the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, compelled by our personal convictions and our Company’s mission and values, wish to express our deepest admiration to all of you who have initiated the non-violent Occupy Wall Street Movement and to those around the country who have joined in solidarity.
And now, in Ben and Jerry’s home state of Vermont, another senseless #Occupy-related tragedy has occurred.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A 35-year-old man was shot and gravely wounded Thursday in an Occupy Wall Street encampment in Vermont’s largest city, police said.
“He was my buddy,” Joe Edwards, of Burlington, said of the victim, who had been at the encampment for about a week. Edwards, sitting on a bench in the park about two hours after the shooting, said he did not know the victim’s full name.
The encampment has been in the park since Oct. 28. The city had threatened to evict the protesters because the park is closed from midnight until 6 a.m., but city officials made special accommodation for the protesters.
Almost two dozen tents have remained in the park, and the number of protesters has varied.
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Of course, Ben And Jerry’s itself isn’t exactly a commune for aging hippies; they are a major operation trying to ride the line between their social conscience cred and actually running a successful business. For example, the company who decries “inequality” once had a policy that nobody at Ben And Jerry’s could make more than seven times what anyone else made. They ditched this policy in 1995 when they needed to hire a new CEO and haven’t looked back. They are now part of the massive British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever.
At the risk of making a corporation sound like a person, it’s obvious that Ben and Jerry’s has the same right as any company to support whatever political causes it wants. Previously, they have supported gay marriage with a flavor called “Hubby Hubby,” the election of Barack Obama with “Yes, Pecan,” and B&J’s founder Ben Cohen signed a petition supporting convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Apparently unaware of the Obamas’ concerns about how Americans eat, the Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster sundae weighs in at an astonishing 14,000 calories and 500 grams of fat.
The business is a shining example of how capitalism rewards companies who wear their politically correct good intentions on their ice cream-smeared sleeves. Their product is unquestionably tasty, and hip NPR demographic consumers can assuage their guilt at stuffing their gullets with corn syrup, alkalized cocoa, and milk by telling themselves that they are really supporting peace and Earth Day.
At some point, though, you would think that Ben and Jerry’s would notice that #Occupy doesn’t just have an isolated bad apple or two or three or one hundred and eighty-nine. The violence, chaos, and assaults are no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with the history of such ideological movements or the history of some of the players behind the scenes at #Occupy.
Apparently, Ben & Jerry’s thought that throwing in with the class warriors and corporation haters was a safe, smart business move. Granted, these were the same decision makers who decided that selling an ice cream with the name Schweddy Balls was a good idea because, you know. Alec Baldwin. But selling a dessert treat named after a testicular pun is just gross; the #Occupy movement’s offensiveness goes way beyond that. It’s time for the Ben and Jerry’s board to reevaluate their unconditional support for the #Occupy movement.
Phone calls to Ben and Jerry’s public relations department were not returned.