Josh Rivera, USA TODAY
Published 6:33 p.m. ET June 3, 2020 | Updated 6:55 p.m. ET June 3, 2020
It’s hard for brands to weigh in on social issues. At best, it can reaffirm a loyal customer base of the company’s values, and at worst, it’ll be seen as a disingenuous publicity stunt.
After protests over the killing of George Floyd while in Minnesota police custody erupted around the nation, many brands have taken the rare step of weighing in.
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The ice cream company posted Wednesday on Twitter, “The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy.”
On a larger statement on its website, the company said:
What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know – Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. – most we don’t.
Ben & Jerry’s requested that President Donald Trump and elected officials disavow white supremacists; that Congress pass H.R. 40 – legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies; and that the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division.
The company supports the creation of a national task force aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability.
The stance garnered some attention in social media – mostly lauding the action – including from journalist and activist Jemele Hill, who tweeted, “(Ben & Jerry’s) just put all other corporate statements to shame. THIS is how you put out a statement.”
It’s not the first time the company has taken a political or social stance.
In 2005, it protested oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2011, it supported the Occupy Wall Street movement. And in 2018, Ben & Jerry’s launched its “Pecan Resist” flavor supporting organizations working on peaceful resistance against the Trump administration.
Follow Josh Rivera on Twitter: @Josh1Rivera.
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