Ben & Jerry’s has called on the US to return “stolen Indigenous land” in a bold Fourth of July message.
Taking to social media, the ice cream company divided fans over its Independence Day post, tweeting, “The United States was founded on stolen indigenous land. This Fourth of July, let’s commit to returning it.”
In a similar message on its website, the company argued that July 4 festivities and celebrations can “distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth.”
Ben & Jerry’s proposed to “start with Mount Rushmore,” writing, “What is the meaning of Independence Day for those whose land this country stole, those who were murdered and forced with brutal violence onto reservations, those who were pushed from their holy places and denied their freedom.”
“The faces on Mount Rushmore are the faces of men who actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life, to deny Indigenous people their basic rights,” the statement concluded.
The bold message received mixed responses, with many calling others to boycott the brand in a move that echoes the aftermath of Bud Light’s recent partnership with trans model Dylan Mulvaney.
The transgender influencer, 26, raised ire among critics after being signed as a rep for the beer brand in a March Madness contest and has since kept her distance from Instagram.
The embattled beer brand has been facing fierce pushback from customers in recent months, with many deciding to take part in an ongoing boycott following their April partnership.
And it seems like Ben & Jerry’s is looking to face similar push back if Twitter responses are anything to go by.
Among the critics is country singer John Rich, who has been an outspoken figure in the wake of the Bud Light drama.
Taking to Twitter Tuesday, Rich wrote, “Make @benndjerrys Bud Light again.”
Meanwhile, another Twitter user wrote, “Just when you think @benandjerrys couldn’t go any lower – they pull this stunt. Boycott Ben and Jerry’s.”
Another called the ice cream brand “the Bud Light of ice cream,” tweeting, “But seriously now, close shop, or better yet, donate your business and everything you own in these lands that rightfully belong to the indigenous people, apologize to them, and return to the continent your ancestors came from. Now.”
The company is known for taking a stance on polarizing issues, such as providing military aid to Ukraine as co-founder Ben Cohen donated more than $1 million to a group urging an end to US military support for Ukraine.
Ben & Jerry’s also caused a stir in 2021 when it announced it was putting a freeze on selling ice cream in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory” — a move that drew intense fury from Israelis, including former PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Cohen and Greenfield later filed a lawsuit against parent company Unilever after the Israeli branch of Ben & Jerry’s was sold to a local licensee.
The brand previously spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBTQ+ community.
On its website, Ben & Jerry’s says its social mission is to “eliminate injustices in our communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities.”
By Nika Shakhnazarova