Scoop: Ben and Jerry stumped by Texas and Georgia

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The activist co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s admitted in an interview with “Nerdshala on HBO” that they don’t know how to hold states like Georgia and Texas accountable when they pass laws they disagree with.

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why it matters: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have made progressive politics synonymous with their brand. The 70-year-old entrepreneurs, who no longer control the company but retain their right to be its social conscience, have shown that they will use business prowess in the pursuit of their ideals.

Alexey McCammond of Nerdshala asked, during an interview in Brand’s home state of Vermont: “You guys are big supporters of voting rights. Why do you still sell ice cream in Georgia? Texas – Abortion banned. Why are you still selling there?”

  • “I don’t know,” said Ben Cohen, laughing. “It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what it will achieve. We’re working on those issues, of voting rights. … I think you ask a very good question. And I think I’ll have to sit down and think about it a little bit.”
  • When pressed on Texas limits on women’s access to abortion, Cohen said: “By this logic, we shouldn’t be selling ice cream anywhere. I have a problem with what’s being done in almost every state and country. . “
  • “One thing that’s different is that what Israel is doing is considered illegal by international law. And so I think it’s a consideration,” Greenfield said.

One of the company’s latest moves Israel’s 2021 decision to stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian Territories caused a serious backlash.

  • Cohen and Greenfield Wrote a joint NYT op-ed Defense of the company’s decision. “While we no longer have any operational control of the company established in 1978, we are proud of its action and believe it is on the right side of history,” he wrote.
  • Thirty-five states in the US have anti-Israel boycott laws, and so far four have announced they are taking action or considering splitting from Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company.
  • Greenfield told “Nerdshala on HBO” that those states’ decisions are based on “misinformation” that “Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever are being portrayed as boycotts of Israel — which it is not at all. Not boycotting Israel in any way.”

Bottom-line: Cohen said he’s found ways to “do things that uphold justice — and increase ice cream sales, too.”

  • “Ben & Jerry’s publicly backed Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter. But over the years, the company sells more and more ice cream and continues to flourish,” Greenfield said.
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