Hazed and Confused Ice Cream? We’re Not Buying It
The following post for StopHazing was written by author and anti-hazing activist Hank Nuwer. For more information on Hank, check out his website at www.hanknuwer.com.
We’ve heard about the latest scoop from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And we flatout don’t like the way the ice cream giant has come up with a new flavor to be called “Hazed and Confused,” the same name a Boulder (Co.)-based beer company chose for its new brand just about the time Colorado University was dealing with the hazing death of Gordie Bailey, Jr.
Ben and Jerry’s is located in Burlington, Vermont, once home to Jonathan McNamara who perished in a long fall from a cliff during a hazing incident. This isn’t the first company to make a mockery of hazing with an unfortunate ad campaign. Pizza Hut briefly did so, then pulled its commercial when public opinion was deadset against it. Snapple was worse, stubbornly keeping its web ads showing fraternity brothers in a compromised hazing situation with a broken paddle on the floor.
Activists Lianne and Brian Kowiak lost their son Harrison in an inane and deadly physical hazing episode in North Carolina that ended his life with a serious head injury. They protested to a front office staffer at Ben & Jerry’s who tried to convince the couple the ice cream name was all in jest.
Oh really, what other playful taboo subjects are next on the Board of Directors’ drawing board?
There is a glimmer of hope in the air, however. After all, Ben & Jerry’s swears up and down on its web site that it is a values-based company. Consumer Affairs Director Wendy Steager today announced to the Kowiaks a new position:
Ben & Jerry’s Statement on Hazed & Confused
The naming of Ben & Jerry’s newest Core Concoction flavor “Hazed & Confused” is a wordplay on the term “dazed and confused.” The concoction is a hazelnut-based flavor, and Ben & Jerry’s often connects popular culture to its flavors, hence the pun. The flavor Hazed & Confused and Ben & Jerry’s as a company in no way condone – nor support in any manner – the act of hazing or bullying.
Ben & Jerry’s has taken a position to support equality throughout its 36 year history. Aligning with the Occupy Wall Street movement, standing up for children with the Call for Kids program, and B&Js perennial and global support of same sex marriage in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia all demonstrate the company’s ongoing vibrant belief and efforts to support diversity, equality and peace.
Ben & Jerry’s believes that hazing and bullying have no place in our society. No individual, group, or entity should benefit by marginalizing others. Empathizing with those individuals and families who have unfortunately endured the hardship of hazing, the company’s Global Leadership Team is reviewing this issue at its next meeting.
Here’s hoping that many of you for Hazing Prevention Week will send a stern single sentence to Ms. Steager and the Ben and Jerry Board of Directors Jeff Furman, Pierre Ferrari, Jennifer Henderson, Jostein Solheim and Terry Mollner.
I’ll let Lianne Kowiak have the last word. “As parents who have lost their 19 year old son from something so senseless as hazing, we would like to see Ben & Jerry’s change the name of an ice cream flavor “Hazed and Confused”. For all the families that have lost a son or daughter or loved one to hazing and for all the individuals who have been harmed physically and emotionally , and out of respect to them, this action would support the core values and attention to social issues Ben & Jerry’s represents.”
The board meets in mid-October. Make your voice known. Hazed and Confused? Here’s my new motto. “We’re not buying it…nor any other Ben & Jerry’s product. Not so long as they put out that offensive flavor.” Send a letter of protest to Ben & Jerry at Wendy.Steager@benjerry.com. Then send a CC to Lianne and Brian at Lkowiak@hotmail.com
Do the right thing. Pull “Hazed and Confused” out of production.