Ben & Jerrys' "Hazed And Confused" Flavor Gets A Chilly Response From Parents
What's in a name? Beloved ice cream company Ben & Jerry's has formally refused two parents' request to rename Ben and Jerry's "Hazed & Confused," flavor, which the parents believe condones hazing, Bloomberg reports. Lianne and Brian Kowiak lost their son, Harrison, in 2008 when he died during a hazing exercise while pledging Theta Chi fraternity at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina. The Kowiaks, along with several supporters, believe the name is insensitive to the families of those who have died as a result of hazing.
A Ben & Jerry's spokesman told Bloomberg that, after a month of in-depth analysis, the company didn't find anything in their advertising that condoned, supported, or inferred hazing. According to B&J, the title is a reference to the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused, aptly tweaked to refer to the ice cream's hazelnut core.
This isn't Ben & Jerry's first brush with flavor controversy, either. The company has come under fire on two other occasions regarding its creative names. Once was for their flavor "Taste The Lin-sanity," named after Taiwanese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin — which contained racially-misguided bits of fortune cookies. Yikes.
The other time was for their flavor, "Schweddy Balls," which came under fire from mothers' groups for obvious reasons.
Needless to say, hazing is a pretty serious issue in the United States. According to a University of Minnesota study, 55 percent of college students who participate in campus organizations are hazed. And according to the research of Hank Nuwer, a professor at Franklin College in Indiana who studies hazing, there have been 104 hazing deaths in the past 44 years.
While the name itself doesn't encourage hazing, it certainly makes light of it by using it in a humorous context. The title does say, "hazed and confused," which, if read literally, does infer hazing. On the one hand, I understand Ben & Jerry's desire to keep the title and stick it to the man, or whatever. But on the other, I get that parents don't want to be reminded of hazing tragedies while browsing the freezer aisle.
Frankly, that chocolate ice cream with a hazelnut core is going to seduce anyone with a sweet tooth (read: me) regardless of the name on the carton. If every PMSing chick's go-to ice cream company could find a way to keep selling their delicious ice cream, while also doing right by a handful of upset parents, they should do so.
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