Ben & Jerry’s, the renowned ice cream brand, stirred controversy with a contentious social media post on July 4th, the day marking America’s 247th year of independence. The company’s statement, which highlighted the historical fact that the United States was established on land taken from Indigenous people, sparked a wave of criticism.
The company’s post read, “Ah, the Fourth of July. Who doesn’t love a good parade, some tasty barbecue, and a stirring fireworks display? The only problem with all that, though, is that it can distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth: The US was founded on stolen Indigenous land.”
This statement was met with a flurry of reactions. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) expressed his disappointment with the company, vowing never to consume their products again. He questioned the practicality of the company’s suggestion, asking what it would mean to ‘return’ the land that has been the foundation of the country for centuries.
Joel M. Petlin, a political commentator, accused the company of hypocrisy. He referenced a news article about Jewish students calling for Ben & Jerry’s to vacate ‘illegally occupied’ land in Vermont, where their headquarters is located. He suggested that the company should commit to returning this ‘stolen land’ and proposed a new flavor name: ‘Shameful Hypocrisy Crunch’.
Attorney and columnist Kurt Schlichter had a different take. He argued that the victors should reap the rewards, and if that upset people, it was even better. His statement was, “We won. Too bad.”
The incident has sparked a debate about the historical truths of America’s founding and the responsibilities of corporations in addressing these issues.