Earlier this week, a Ben & Jerry’s store caught the attention of many #occupywallstreet protesters when they were seen to be profiting from the protest.
… But that evening, protesters expressed mixed feelings about corporations latching onto their cause. Some, like Jules Caldarera, a 20-year-old student from New Mexico, were excited to see support from a high-profile company like Ben & Jerry’s. Many didn’t realize that the ice cream was from Ben & Jerry’s. Others found it strange that any company would support an anti-corporate protest.
“It’s problematic,” says Donal Foreman, a 26-year-old from Ireland. Foreman has been attending the protests since their launch but wasn’t there to eat any of the free treats during the day on Tuesday. “Ben & Jerry’s is co-opting the movement.”
The Ben & Jerry’s board tried to show support for the movement:
Regardless, the brand has aligned itself with Occupy Wall Street’s values. In its statement, Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors decries “the inequity that exists between classes in our country,” as well as the fact that “corporations are permitted to spend unlimited resources to influence elections while stockpiling a trillion dollars rather than hiring people.”
Of course, who can blame them for trying to elevate their brand and garner a little attention for their efforts in the community, right?
The unfortunate reality is that Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever and they are ultimately part of the problem so long as their parent company insists on using genetically modified ingredients in their foods (including Ben & Jerry’s?), pushing forward with sexist and misogynist ads for Axe and pushing for corporate tax breaks.
Sorry folks … until Ben & Jerry’s owners choose to divest themselves for corporations like Unilever, they’re part of the problem not the solution and they’re just making the situation that much more awkward.