I reported on the bad move that Ben & Jerry’s made on the Fourth of July. When most companies were recognizing the day and honoring America, the ice cream company decided to attack the country. They tweeted that the land the U.S. is on was “stolen” and that the U.S. should give it back to the indigenous people.
This 4th of July, it's high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it. Learn more and take action now: https://t.co/45smaBmORH pic.twitter.com/a6qp7LXUAE
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) July 4, 2023
As I noted at the time, if they truly believed in this bad take, they should be the first to give up all their properties back to the Native Americans. That was a pretty common take in response to the tweet, along with people asking why they are still stealing milk from the cows.
Speaking of stolen land, the Abenaki Nation would like to have a word with @benandjerrys about the land under their headquarters that they are occupying in Vermont.
— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) July 5, 2023
They also claimed, “The faces on Mount Rushmore are the faces of men who actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life.”
But now they’re being called out on their virtue signaling by those very people whose land they are living on. Now that the company has said what it did, Don Stevens wants to talk with them. Stevens is the chief of the Nulhegan Band of The Coosuk Abenaki Nation, one of four tribes descended from the Abenaki that are recognized in Vermont. He said he “looks forward to any kind of correspondence with the brand to see how they can better benefit Indigenous people.”
Stevens added that if the ice cream maker is “sincere,” it should reach out to him as the company’s corporate headquarters — located at 30 Community Dr. in South Burlington, Vt. — is situated on Western Abenaki land.
“If you look at the [Abenaki] traditional way of being, we are place-based people. Before recognized tribes in the state, we were the ones who were in this place,” Stevens said, adding that the Abenaki view themselves as “stewards of the land.”
How perfect is that? If the company wants to stand by what it said, it should act first and give the company headquarters back to the Abenaki tribe. But, since people have brought this to their attention before and they haven’t exactly rushed to act, I wouldn’t bet that they’re going to do it now. I wouldn’t bet money on them even reaching out to Stevens.
But there was another big blow to the company’s hypocrisy on the matter. Many responded to Ben & Jerry’s tweet saying that the company should be given the “Bud Light” treatment, meaning that they should be boycotted. Now since the tweet, Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever has lost about $2 billion in market cap since Monday.
Shares of Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational firm, slid 0.8% Thursday after closing down 0.5% the previous day.
The company’s stock price has closed Thursday at $51.31, nearly $1 below its closing price of $52.28 during Monday’s shortened trading — and the day before Ben & Jerry’s posted its unpatriotic tweet.
The result has seen its market cap drop to $128.5 billion from $130.2 billion on Monday.
Congratulations, Unilever, you may have a “Bud Light” moment underway, and it would be richly deserved, given your hot take. As Bud Light has found out, virtue signaling to the woke can be a very costly thing.