Ben & Jerry's is known for its delicious (and offensive) ice cream flavors. But over the years, the company has also distinguished itself for its overt and controversial opinions on social and political issues.
The company's leaders -- Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have taken stances against military spending and they have defended Occupy Wall Street. These, of course, are only two examples (there was also that embarrassing Jeremy Lin-inspired fortune cookie flavor, which the company inevitably apologized for). Now, Ben & Jerry's has changed one of its flavors in support of marriage equality.
While the company has supported gay marriage rights here in America in the past, its newest flavor-change and campaign is geared toward helping a same-sex marriage bill pass in England (we recently reported on how the Catholic Church is responding to this proposal). So, to support gay nuptials, Ben & Jerry's has renamed its Apple Pie flavored ice cream, "Apple-y Ever After."
A press release published on the company's UK web site reads, in part:
In 2009 we renamed our legendary flavour Chubby Hubby to 'Hubby Hubby' to celebrate gay marriage legalisation in our home state of Vermont, in the US. This March as the UK government debates whether to legalise same sex marriage, we've partnered with gay rights organisation, Stonewall, to raise awareness about the importance of marriage equality by renaming our Apple Pie flavour, Apple-y Ever After!
If you think that Civil Partnership is the same as marriage, think again! Show your support and help convince members of parliament that it's time to say 'I do' to same sex marriage!
The same release proclaims that "social justice is at the core of Ben & Jerry's values. Additionally, there are opportunities on the company's web site for customers to write to members of parliament to advocate for the passage of the bill. Supporters can also support the proposal by "marrying" someone of the same sex on Facebook through a special app that has been developed.
"Because everyone is equal and deserves to live Apple-y Ever After," concludes the Ben & Jerry's statement. While this is a chipper conclusion to say the least, The Telegraph's Will Heaven finds the press release and partisan flavoring less-than-satisfying. He writes:
Reading that PR announcement made me want to bulk-buy Häagen-Dazs. Why? Not because I'm a crazed homophobe, but because I'm so irritated by my food telling me what I should believe.
This kind of crass marketing technique has "Democrat" written all over it. They're shamelessly using a delicate social issue to make money. It's a very American style of Left-wingery – and that's why I don't think it will work here.
We can just about stomach Fair Trade chocolate or support – for example – the Body Shop's excellent campaign against child sex trafficking. But ice cream that says, "buy me, or you're a bigot"? No thanks.
You can read more about the flavor and make up your own mind here.