Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, has seen a nearly $2 billion drop in its market cap amid calls to boycott the ice cream brand. The fallout comes in the wake of a controversial July 4th tweet by Ben & Jerry’s, stating, “This 4th of July, it’s high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it.”
Following the tweet, the company’s shares dipped 0.8% after a 0.5% decrease the previous day. This resulted in a decline in market cap from $130.2 billion on Monday to $128.5 billion.
Critics took to social media to voice their anger and call for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s, with comments such as, “Just when you think @benandjerrys couldn’t go any lower – they pull this stunt. Boycott Ben and Jerry’s.”
Moreover, Unilever has faced accusations of hypocrisy over continuing to operate in Russia despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine, while criticizing the United States. The company defended its decision, stating, “we do not think it is right to abandon our people in Russia,” and expressed concerns about the potential state appropriation of its brands and impact on its employees.
This incident adds to past controversies involving Ben & Jerry’s, which has faced previous boycott calls over its refusal to sell its ice cream in the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. In that instance, the company sued Unilever after it sold the famous brand to a local Israeli licensee who resumed selling ice cream under the Ben & Jerry’s name.