In a surprising move by Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream giant took to Twitter yesterday, August 11, to publish a series of tweets directed at UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and her inhumane treatment and discourse around immigration. The company began the thread by directly speaking to Patel, tweeting “Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture. We pulled together a thread for you.”
The Twitter thread came after Priti has been called out after it was reported that on Saturday, August 8, the Home Office had asked the defence chiefs to aid them in making the crossing routes into the UK via small and often inflatable boats “unviable.”
Following the viral tweet by the ice cream firm, the Home Office source responded in defence of the Home Secretary, saying that: “Priti is working day and night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people. If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food, then so be it.”
Shortly after, jumping on the defence team of Patel, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly tweeted, “Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream, please?”
Over the past few days, attention to the dangerous illegal boat crossings into the UK has gained attention across social media following an inhumane and rightly voyeuristic reporting by both BBC and Sky reporters as they were filmed on a boat, filming and reporting on an inflatable boat filled with migrants headed toward the UK coastline.
Criticism of the journalists and their journalistic ethos has been heavy, citing that instead of filming these individuals they should have helped them onto their safer boats and out of dangerous waters. In response, Labour MP Zarah Sultana said, “We should ensure people don’t drown crossing the Channel, not film them as if it were some grotesque reality TV show.” While Stephen Farry, the deputy leader of Northern Ireland’s Alliance party, said it was not ethical journalism. “It is voyeurism and capitalising on misery. Media should be seeking to hold [the Home Office] to account, and the dark forces fuelling this anti-people agenda.”