Ben & Jerry’s founders incited anger for publicly coming out in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In a speech earlier this month at their yearly franchise convention, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield appeared on stage wearing “hands up don’t shoot” t-shirts.
Cohen and Greenfield encouraged franchisees to sell the t-shirts with proceeds from the sale going to Hands Up United, the grassroots organization founded by activist/rapper, Tef Poe.
On Friday, Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s spoke with Roland Martin via Skype about his support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the backlash that he has received as a result.
Cohen explained the presentation he and Greenfield made at their franchise convention in New Orleans about the shootings of unarmed Black men and boys was “very well received” by their entire franchise community. One of the franchisees out of Athens, GA took a picture of Cohen wearing a “hands up don’t shoot” t-shirt and posted it on their Facebook saying “they’re interested in getting more active on this issue.”
“It seems to me that somebody who is associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement — people that don’t agree with this saw the post on the Facebook page, notified their whole network and they just got slammed with a tremendous amount of very negative Facebook postings.”
The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of focusing on social justice issues, directly addressed those who have been critical of their support of #BlackLivesMatter said, “There are some policemen that sometimes make mistakes and speaking out against a mistake in these kind of cases, these are mistakes about life and death.”
“We give policemen guns; they don’t get to make mistakes. We need to hire people who are only going to use that gun when their lives are actually at risk from somebody with a lethal weapon.”
Cohen added, “What those policemen did was unconscionable and when we speak out against an act like that it’s not attacking the entire concept of police. It’s not attacking all policemen. It’s attacking a situation that occurs over and over again and it doesn’t occur to people that look like me.”
“It only occurs to people that are Black and Brown and I’ll speak out like that as much and as often as I can.”
Watch Martin and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen discuss support of #HandsUpDontShoot and the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the exclusive video clip above.