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Controversy Swirls Around Ben & Jerry's Statement That U.S. Exists On Stolen Indigenous Land

This is not the first time Ben & Jerry's has faced backlash for its polarizing stand on various social issues.
Cover Image Source | Scott Olson | Getty Images
Cover Image Source | Scott Olson | Getty Images

Ben & Jerry's, an iconic ice cream brand known for its socially conscious stance, has once again stirred up controversy with its recent statement on Twitter. The company's official account called on people to acknowledge that the United States exists on stolen indigenous land and urged them to commit to "returning" it, reports Fox Business. This declaration, which coincided with Independence Day, quickly ignited a firestorm of backlash and calls for a boycott akin to the ongoing Bud Light boycott. 

Cover Image Source: Ben & Jerry's
Cover Image Source: Ben & Jerry's

Prior to posting on Twitter, the ice cream company released an article about the issue on its website on June 30. In their article, Ben & Jerry's reminded how indigenous activists climbed Mount Rushmore in 1970 to occupy it for months demanding back their land. And later the US Supreme Court ruled that Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills were indeed stolen, awarding $105 million to Sioux in damages, which the community declined, mentions the article. After that on the 4th of July, while Americans celebrated their nation's independence with parades, barbecues, and fireworks, Ben & Jerry's took to Twitter to remind its followers of the harsh reality. The company stated, "This 4th of July, it's high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it." The tweet included a link to the post elaborating on the topic and specifically mentioned Mount Rushmore as a place to start.


The response on social media was swift and overwhelmingly critical. Many users expressed outrage at the timing of the statement, as it coincided with a day of national celebration. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, simply replied, "No it doesn't," rejecting the claim that the U.S. is on stolen land. Singer-songwriter John Rich called for a boycott, likening it to the Bud Light boycott in the past. Other users echoed the sentiment, stating that they would no longer purchase Ben & Jerry's products.

Image Source: Ben & Jerry
Image Source: Ben & Jerry's

This is not the first time Ben & Jerry's has faced backlash for its controversial stances. In June, the company announced that it would no longer pay for advertising on Twitter, citing concerns over what it perceived as a rise in "hate speech" on the platform since Elon Musk took over. The ice cream brand expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of effective content moderation on the platform. Additionally, in 2021, Ben & Jerry's faced boycotts from consumers in the U.S. after declaring that it would no longer sell its ice cream in Israel's "Occupied Palestinian Territory," referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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A post shared by Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys)


The issue of land ownership and indigenous rights is a complex and sensitive topic. Throughout history, many indigenous communities have experienced displacement and loss of their ancestral lands. Recognizing and addressing these historical injustices is important for achieving reconciliation and promoting social justice. However, the timing and manner in which Ben & Jerry's made their statement have raised questions about the appropriateness and effectiveness of their approach.

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A post shared by Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys)


While Ben & Jerry's has a history of advocating for social causes and using its platform to raise awareness, it is essential to engage in meaningful dialogue and consider different perspectives when addressing such sensitive topics. Open and respectful conversations can foster understanding and empathy, ultimately contributing to positive change. By encouraging discussions on the complexities of land ownership and indigenous rights, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society.