Scoop: Ben and Jerry baffled by Texas and Georgia

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

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 have retained their social conscience, have shown that they use entrepreneurial strength to pursue their ideals.

Alexi McCammond from Axios asked, during an interview in the Vermont brand’s home state: “You are big advocates of voting rights. Why are you still selling ice cream in Georgia? Texas – Abortion Bans. Why are you still selling there? “

  • “I don’t know,” said Ben Cohen with a laugh. “This is an interesting question. I don’t know what that would do. We are working on these issues of voting rights. … I think you are asking a really good question. And I think I have to sit down and think about it a bit. “
  • When pressing for restrictions on women’s access to abortion in Texas, Cohen said, “This is why we shouldn’t be selling ice cream anywhere. I have problems with what is being done in almost every state and country. ”
  • “One thing that is different is that what Israel is doing is considered illegal under international law. I think that’s a consideration,” Greenfield said.

One of the company’s newest moves – His decision in 2021 to stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories – sparked serious backlash.

  • Cohen and Greenfield wrote a joint NYT oped defending the company’s decision. “While we no longer have operational control over the company we founded in 1978, we take pride in what it does and believe it is on the right side of history,” they wrote.
  • Thirty-five states have anti-Israel boycott laws, and so far four have announced they will take action or consider divesting Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry.
  • Greenfield told Axios on HBO that these states’ decisions were based on “misinformation” that “Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever are being characterized as a boycott of Israel – which is not the case at all. It does not boycott Israel in any way, ”he said.

The bottom line: Cohen said they had “found ways to do things that increase justice – and also increase ice cream sales”.

  • “Ben & Jerry publicly supported Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter. But over the years the company has been selling more ice cream and thriving, “said Greenfield.