Ben & Jerry’s has never shied away from weighing in on prominent social and political causes. Now the Vermont-based creamery has officially weighed in one of America’s most contentious movements: Black Lives Matter.
On Thursday, the ice cream maker sent out a Tweet proclaiming solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Black Lives Matter. Choosing to be silent in the face of such injustice is not an option."
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) October 6, 2016
The Tweet, which has been liked over 30,000 times, was accompanied by a lengthy statement on systemic and institutionalized racism and called for others to join their cause by not standing idly by and to engage in meaningful action.
“Systemic and institutionalized racism are the defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time,” says the statement signed by Your Friends at Ben & Jerry’s. “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.”
The statement also specifically references the recent police officer shooting death of an African-American man in Charlotte, and links to a separate landing page on the company's website titled "7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real."
As soon as the statement was posted, Ben & Jerry’s social media pages were flooded with comments. Many celebrated the company for taking a firm stance on a controversial matter.
— Terron Moore (@Terr) October 7, 2016
— Todd Gallinger (@tgallinger) October 7, 2016
— Maryann Zappulla (@uuVegan) October 7, 2016
But others who claimed to be opposed to the Black Lives Matter cause declared their outrage, and some called for a boycott of the company’s ice cream.
@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
Though many businesses choose to remain neutral when it comes to politics, company founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have a history of weighing on political movements. They have have previously released ice cream flavors supporting marriage equality and raise awareness about climate change. In January, Ben & Jerry’s threw its support behind Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with a limited-edition flavor called Bernie’s Yearning.
And in April, Cohen and Greenfield were among approximately 300 individuals arrested at the U.S. Capitol as part of protests about the role of money in politics organized by activist group Democracy Awakening.