Ben & Jerry’s Social Injustice Trifecta

Why Vermont’s favorite ice cream entrepreneurs may no longer get a pass now that Becca Balint has left the Vermont Legislature

Mock Illustration from Imaginary Campaign Against Ben & Jerry’s

By Guy Page

Rep. Becca Balint’s recent criticism of Ben & Jerry’s child labor practices underscores what some critics have been saying (oh, okay, I’ve been thinking) about Ben & Jerry’s for a very long time:

Great ice cream. Abysmal child-abuse-for-profit. Three times over.

When it comes to global warming, child obesity, and human trafficking, Ben & Jerry’s is a predatory perp. 

And yet they always get a pass from the Vermont Legislature. Balint is only heaving verbal rocks at them now that she’s a member of the country’s most influential stoning brigade, the progressive caucus of the United States Congress. When she led the Senate, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were always welcome to lug a few gallons of ice cream into the State House cafeteria and scoop ice cream for lobbyists and lawmakers while schmoozing about their favorite progressive issue (climate change, universal health care, mostly). 

Human trafficking – Balint’s letter to Ben & Jerry’s owner Unilever (shared with the media) asks, “When did your suppliers begin using migrant child labor?” It’s as if she’s somehow unaware that the flood of unchecked illegal immigrants into Vermont to work on dairy farms are victims of human trafficking cartels that want their money – and have no compunction about forcing children to help Mom and Dad pay the coyote. 

Sure, farmers need workers, and sure, America needs immigrants. What they/we don’t need are the cartels as human resource managers. There’s a better way – but I don’t recall Balint bravely singling out B&J’s role in empowering human trafficking on the campaign trail. Maybe that’s because the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation supports progressive non-profits near and dear to Balint’s heart: like climate hawk and activist trainer

Child obesity – This issue was hot for a while. Now the pendulum of progressive outrage has swung the other way. Fat activists saying Michelle Obama’s favorite cause fails the equity test and even fosters anorexia. But think about it – Ben & Jerry’s not only sells a high calorie, highly-addictive comfort food, it gives it away free to groups of young people. There was a time when you couldn’t swing a dead cat at a youth gathering without knocking over a tub of free Ben & Jerry’s. Generosity? Or grooming future addicts? 

Climate Change – Maybe Ben & Jerry’s supports Bill McKibben’s for the same reason fossil-fuel utilities are willing to buy carbon credits. It’s just a matter of time before Vermont’s climate warriors, fresh from their victories over oil-burning furnaces, turn their spears and crossbows on the Vermont dairy farm, a target-rich environment of methane-producing cows. It’s like medieval indulgences: the Bad Guys pay the Good Guys so that the Good Guys won’t hassle them about continuing to sleep with their sisters, as James Ehlers said so clearly if crassly in Monday’s Vermont Daily Chronicle.

This is child abuse (the .350org narrative says) because the looming global disaster that is climate change will climax decades, even generations from now. The climate cult’s prophets warn that the sins of the parents will be visited on the children, down to the third and fourth generation. Repent now!

Supporters of Israel could add that Ben & Jerry’s also backs the Palestinian movement without strong, public condemnation of its frequent straying from the non-violent tenets of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. More and more, Ben & Jerry’s is looking less like a sweet dairy cow and more like the pig that prefers to wallow in the mud.

Woe betide the corporate lobbyist who has to answer to his/her big bosses at Unilever who failed to prevent the inevitable social media meme headline going viral: “FIGHT child obesity! SAVE Mother Earth! STOP human trafficking! BOYCOTT Ben & Jerry’s!”

And it could happen. Probably will happen. But not because of genuine moral outrage. Pardon my cynicism but….

FTX isn’t there anymore to cough up big campaign bucks. But Unilever is. Becca Balint, the new farmhand, has hooked up the campaign contribution milking machine to the Ben & Jerry’s cash cow and will keep that machine humming until the old girl is drained dry. 

Categories: Commentary

10 replies »

  1. I’m calling Game, Set and Match to Mr. Page.
    Although balint could care less, she has joined the club in DC- her task now is pay lip service to constituents and buckle down on pleasing her masters, be it unilever or greenfield, cohen and a long list of donor class elitists.
    Equity in action, the way D/P politics defines it.

  2. I believe it was Robert Allen Zimmerman who wrote, “The times they are a changin”. As far as Ben and Jerry’s, what goes around, comes around. Always has, always will. Which way is Yasgur’s Farm ? What do you mean you can’t go back ? The answer to this conundrum ? Refuse to acknowledge that it is not still 1969, like Ben and Jerry.

  3. Palestinian residents of the West Bank have complained that BDS actually hurts their economy and culture. Ben & Jerry’s has defied Unilever and refuses to re-commence dealing in the West Bank.

  4. Don’t eat Ben Jerry’s, please don’t call it Vts ice cream that’s a disgrace to VT and its population. Wouldn’t eat it if I was Starving

  5. Don’t use Seventh Generation products EITHER! They advocate for Planned Parenthood, “choice”, (as THEY call it), and all the rest of the amoral & injurious trash.

    I have bought that brand for decades – won’t touch any product they manufacture now. Hit them ALL where they hurt – in the pocketbook.

  6. Ben and Jerry’s was quirky but only mildly annoying in the 90’s. Then Ben and Jerry sold out to Unilever, proving once and for all that the small town corporate social responsibility garbage was exactly that. I stopped buying it at that point. Then they slandered Kyle Rittenhouse and everyone who believes in the principle of self defense as a racist, while supporting the nice folks actually murdering, burning and looting in the predominately black neighborhoods.

    Ben and Jerry’s can rot in the dumpster where it belongs, with the rest of the hypocritical leftist garbage.


  8. Unilever owns the products Hellmans, Dove, Knorr, Magnum (ice cream bars,) Sunsilk, Vaseline (a petroleum product – say it isn’t so!) Lifebuoy, etc. Isn’t it interesting these globalist corporate behemouths own and control so much product that doesn’t fit their narrative? Hence, it’s all a scam and they know the old adage “a sucker born every minute” is absolute.

  9. What a screed….You conveniently minimize that Ben and Jerrys has been owned by a conglomerate for 23 years, but yet you choose to aim most of your criticism at the founders, the Obamas and anyone else left of center. Its a corporation! Their only responsibility is to the shareholders. anything else is just bunting and PR, and you’ve fallen for it.

    BTW, Becca Balint entered the senate in 2014, 14 years after Ben and Jerry sold the company.