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Ben and Jerry’s has no right to lecture anyone about migrants

The virtue-signalling ice-cream brand has been accused of mistreating migrant workers.

Thomas Osborne

Topics Politics UK

The social-media team at Ben and Jerry’s UK has waded into Britain’s immigration debate. Again.

This supposedly socially conscious ice-cream brand – owned by corporate giant Unilever – has posted incessantly in recent months about the UK’s contentious Rwanda policy for illegal migration, with tweets about the status of the plan sandwiched between cringeworthy marketing posts.

Speaking of cringe, in November it posted a proposed to-do list for new Tory home secretary James Cleverly, suggesting he should sneak in an ice-cream break before awarding asylum seekers the right to work.

Seemingly frustrated by No10’s refusal to adopt its recommendations, the Ben and Jerry’s UK marketing team has stepped up its efforts in recent days. It declared on Twitter / X yesterday that Rishi Sunak’s government was ‘bypassing’ human rights – a moral outrage, it said, that even sickly sweet ice-cream brands should be concerned about.

Ben and Jerry’s lecturing the UK government has become an absurdly common thing in recent years. In 2020, the brand launched a vociferous attack on then home secretary Priti Patel’s efforts to stop migrants crossing the English Channel from France. The brand declared, among other things, that ‘PEOPLE CANNOT BE ILLEGAL’ – even though Patel and her colleagues never alleged otherwise.

This is all patently absurd, of course. Only in our woke-capitalist age would purveyors of flavours such as Dulce De-Lish and Caramel Chew Chew feel compelled to hector elected politicians about illegal-migration policy. But the deeper problem with Ben and Jerry’s lecturing people about the ill-treatment of migrants is that it is outrageously hypocritical.

In 2018, the Guardian reported that the US arm of Ben and Jerry’s was being protested against by migrant workers over poor working and living conditions on the dairy farms which supply the brand. The workers alleged they were housed in unheated trailers, paid a pittance and expected to work for 12 to 14 hours each day.

What’s more, the New York Times reported earlier this year that migrant child labour was being used to process the milk that goes into Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Cheryl Pinto, ‘head of values-led sourcing’ at the company, even told the newspaper that ‘if migrant children needed to work full-time, it was preferable for them to have jobs at a well-monitored workplace’. (Ben and Jerry’s has since condemned the use of child labour.)

These are the people who think they can lecture the government about migration. Ben and Jerry’s UK’s latest Twitter tirade is a helpful reminder that if you scratch a woke corporate, you often find a massive hypocrite.

Thomas Osborne is an intern at spiked.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics UK

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