The Surprising Controversy That May Have Silenced Ben & Jerry's Twitter Account

Ben & Jerry's Twitter account has gone silent since May 18th, 2021 (via Boston Globe). The well-known ice cream brand has typically been known as an outspoken, loud, and clear advocate of social issues at the heart of many liberal paradigms. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield began making hippie ice cream in 1978 and have since used their voice to raise awareness and activism on issues including climate change, systemic racism, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and the refugee crisis (via The Takeout).

Even after selling the original partnership to food giant Unilever in 2000, the board maintained a position on issues that matter to the company (via Standford Social Innovation Review). This attitude can be evidenced by the release of such flavors as Pecan Resist, which referenced the recent Trump administration's divisive presence and those who opposed the 45th President, according to the Ben & Jerry's website.

When it comes to social issues and sweet flavors, we expect the B&J group to speak out — which is why 2 months of silence is so uncharacteristic of the company. The group has remained mum across a few different events fans might have expected them to celebrate, like Pride month and the holiday of Juneteenth.

And it all began with one Twitter post.

Silence is uncharacteristic for Ben & Jerry's

On May 18th, Ben & Jerry's tweeted about a new mint flavor (via Twitter). To be clear, it's not the tweet itself that seems to have generated controversy, but instead, the brand's silence on an issue happening at that time when they had previously been so vocal about social issues considered highly important to left-leaning buyers (via The Takeout). As bombs were flying between Israel and Palestine, the ice cream's overseas practices came into question. In short, Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen and Israeli businessman Avi Zinger make and sell ice cream in occupied Palestine. 

Shares the Boston Globe, "For the past three decades, Ben & Jerry's has licensed a factory in Israel, which produces and distributes ice cream in the country, and also sells in and caters to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem" (via Twitter).

Ben & Jerry's fans weigh in

The production and distribution of Ben & Jerry's in Israel does not seem to match with the other social values shared by the company as far as Twitter is concerned. As one fan called out, "Whatever you top it with, settlemint flavor is in bad taste. Stop profiting from Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing in Palestine!" (via Twitter). Another admitted fan of the brand responded "Hey guys love you & your product i work at a Grocery Coop who sells your product BUT I along with our staff will be discussing this issue &( about selling Ice Cream in what is NOW Isreal & completely ignored calls from Palestine ) listening to what our customers want." Instead of responding to mounting criticism and calls for boycott, the brand has remained uncharacteristically silent which has recently been called out by larger organizations, including the Boston Globe.

This silence itself speaks so loudly, there is now even a hashtag about the controversy, #HasBenAndJerrysTweetedYet.