The founders of the popular ice cream Ben & Jerry’s have found themselves at the center of controversy over their latest interview with Axios on HBO. It is nothing new that both founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, haven’t owned control of the company for some time, yet they continue to support their progressive movements. In July, Ben & Jerry’s announced they would not be selling ice cream in the West Bank, due to Israel claiming the territory. Again, the two founders applauded the move, but as you are about to see, when it comes down to it – it’s all about the money.
During the interview, reporter Alexi McCammond asked Cohen, “If you disagree with the Israeli government policy, why not just stop sales completely?”
Cohen, already knowing he would be asked this, politely answered, “Well, I disagree with the U.S. policy. We couldn’t stop selling in the U.S. Now, I think it’s fine to be involved with a country, to be a citizen of a country, and to protest some of the country’s actions. And that’s essentially what we’re doing in terms of Israel. We hugely support Israel’s right to exist, but we are against a particular policy.”
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Believing that would be the end of it, the founders were surprisingly startled when McCammond pressed the matter with a brilliant setup, “You guys are big proponents of voting rights. Why do you still sell ice cream in Georgia? Texas — abortion bans. Why are you still selling there?”
In a matter of a few seconds, McCammond completely destroyed the founder’s narrative that it isn’t about money, it’s about doing the right thing.
Knowing his brand and image were about to take a hit, Cohen tried to save the interview but McCammond had already set the hook. “I don’t know,” Cohen said with a long pause. “It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what that would accomplish. We’re working on those issues, of voting rights. … I think you ask a really good question. And I think I’d have to sit down and think about it for a bit.”
While the founders might be proponents of the liberal agenda, when it comes down to it, the reason they wouldn’t stop selling ice cream in America is simple – financial ruin.