Despite cries from victim’s families, Ben & Jerry’s will not be changing the name of their controversial ice cream. Tampa residents Lianne and Brian Kowiak wrote to the company after finding the ice cream Hazed & Confused offensive. The Kowiaks lost their son, Harrison Kowiak, to a hazing incident in 2008 and felt that name made light of such incidents. The company did not. From Bloomberg:
The company found nothing in its marketing for the chocolate and hazelnut flavor that “condoned hazing, supported hazing, or even inferred hazing,” said Sean Greenwood, a spokesman for the South Burlington, Vermont-based company, which is owned by Unilever NV. (UNA) Executives also took into account that Internet responses were mostly favorable, he said.
“It didn’t make sense for us to change the name,” Greenwood said. “We named it because it’s a pop culture reference.”
The name of the flavor, which includes fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core, was a play on “dazed and confused,” the company has said. That phrase was made famous by a Led Zeppelin song and a 1993 coming-of-age film comedy.
It’s an unfortunate series of events that led to this topic, but there isn’t really any intent to offend here. If there wasn’t any hazelnut present in the ice cream or if the carton featured a few fraternity brothers paddling a pledge, the case might be a bit more open and shut.
Not the first time the company has faced controversy over names and it certainly won’t be the last. Call me when they start naming flavors after serial killers.