Socially conscious ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s faces calls for a boycott after the company announced its support for the Black Lives Matter protest movement this week.
“Systemic and institutionalized racism are the defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time,” the Vermont-based company said in a statement posted on benjerry.com. “We’ve come to understand that to be silent about the violence and threats to the lives and well-being of black people is to be complicit in that violence and those threats.”
Sending a pointed message to its detractors, Ben and Jerry’s said: “All lives do matter. But all lives will not matter until black lives matter.”
The company posted its support for Black Lives Matter on Facebook and Twitter.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) October 6, 2016
The company added that it does not place blame for racism against the black community on individual police officers.
The statement continued:
Rather, we believe it is due to the systemic racism built into the fabric of our institutions at every level, disadvantaging and discriminating against people of color in ways that go beyond individual intent to discriminate. For this reason, we are not pointing fingers at individuals; we are instead urging us to come together to better our society and institutions so that we may finally fulfill the founding promise of this country: to be a country with dignity and justice for all.
Indeed, Ben & Jerry’s is no stranger to social activism.
In May, the company announced that proceeds from its new flavor of ice cream, “Empower Mint,” would help benefit the North Carolina NAACP’s campaign to repeal the state’s voter ID law.
The company has previously released ice cream flavors in support of same-sex marriage equality and climate change. Company co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen have also come out in support of the Iran nuclear deal.
But after backing Black Lives Matter, the online backlash against the ice cream-making duo is mounting.
I've encouraged a boycott against them before, but more so now. https://t.co/bwwfdLnST6
— Dr. Michael A. Crain (@DoctorMikeCrain) October 7, 2016
Ben&Jerry's makes delicious ice cream.
But every time you spend $8 on 1 of their flavours you're lining the pockets of cop hating communists https://t.co/xTYnTPZ44v
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) October 7, 2016
— Jaspian (@jaspian) October 7, 2016
@benandjerrys never going to buy Ben & Jerry's again.
— James Black (@james_black81) October 6, 2016
Now it's time to boycott Ben & Jerrys for supporting a terrorist organization!
— Deplorable Gambler (@HoserMcToque) October 6, 2016
In April, Greenfield and Cohen were arrested along with 300 other left-wing activists during a Democracy Awakening protest in Washington, D.C.
In June, the ice cream company’s website published a blog titled, “7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real.”