Ben & Jerry’s parent company has lost nearly $2 billion in market cap amid calls to boycott the Vermont-based ice cream maker over a July 4 tweet condemning the US for existing on “stolen Indigenous land.”
Shares of Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational firm, slid 0.8% Thursday after closing down 0.5% the previous day.
The company’s stock price has closed Thursday at $51.31, nearly $1 below its closing price of $52.28 during Monday’s shortened trading — and the day before Ben & Jerry’s posted its unpatriotic tweet.
The result has seen its market cap drop to $128.5 billion from $130.2 billion on Monday.
Ben & Jerry’s, which was acquired by Unilever but whose board remains independent in voicing its views on political issues, said the July 4 celebrations can “distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth.”
“This 4th of July, it’s high time we recognize that the US exists on stolen Indigenous land and commit to returning it,” the brand’s official Twitter account and a statement on Ben & Jerry’s website trumpeted.
“The faces on Mount Rushmore are the faces of men who actively worked to destroy Indigenous cultures and ways of life, to deny Indigenous people their basic rights.”
The tweet and the statement prompted social media users to call for a boycott of the ice cream maker — echoing the reaction to Bud Light’s recent partnership with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
“Make @benndjerrys Bud Light again,” one Twitter user commented.
“Just when you think @benandjerrys couldn’t go any lower – they pull this stunt. Boycott Ben and Jerry’s,” another Twitter user wrote.
On Wednesday, Unilever was called out for its hypocrisy over continuing to sell its Cornetto ice cream and other products in Russia in defiance of calls to exit the country over its invasion of Ukraine — while criticizing the US.
Last year, Unilever’s subsidiaries paid $331 million in taxes to the Kremlin, according to reports.
Unilever has defended its decision to continue operations in Russia, saying that leaving the country is “not straightforward.”
If the company pulled up stakes and left Russia, its 3,000 employees and its brands “would be appropriated — and then operated — by the Russian state,” according to the statement.