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Sen. Mike Lee says he’ll never eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream again

SHARE Sen. Mike Lee says he’ll never eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream again
Sen. Mike Lee is pictured at the Capitol in Salt Lake City.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is pictured at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

In an Independence Day tweet, Ben & Jerry’s, an ice cream company founded by well-known progressives from Vermont, said the United States “was founded on stolen Indigenous land.”

“This Fourth of July, let’s commit to returning it,” the tweet said.

On its website, the company clarified which land it was talking about. “Here’s why we need to start with Mount Rushmore,” a post says. As part of the “Land Back” movement, the company says Mount Rushmore should be returned to the Lakota Sioux.

The tweet raised the ire of a number of conservatives, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who said in a string of tweets that he was swearing off eating the company’s ice cream.

“You just guaranteed that I (a once-loyal customer) will never again consume a single pint of it,” he said.

“When you suggest ‘returning’ the land on which our country has been built for centuries, what exactly do you imagine? Expungement of property rights? Repatriation of most Americans to Europe?” he asked.

Other writers suggested Ben & Jerry’s start by returning the land it owns to Indigenous people.

This is not the first time the ice cream company has received backlash over its progressive political stands. From the beginning, the company has embraced progressive activism as part of its “social mission.”

Ben & Jerry’s was sold to Unilever in 2000 for $326 million, but it maintained its brand identity by keeping an independent board of directors. In 2021, Unilever found itself embroiled in controversy when the independent board voted to stop selling ice cream in Israel over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unilever subsequently sold its business interests in Ben & Jerry’s in Israel to Blue and White Ice Cream.