Earlier this month, the Women’s March convened in Washington, DC, and across the country for the third year in a row. The Washington Post reported organizers in the District anticipated three to five thousand marchers, down from the approximately 500,000 who marched on the city in 2017. While support for the Women’s March has waned over the years, the march still boasts about its “brand partners,” which include many household names—many with their own radical politics.
Progressive Ice Cream
In both 2019 and 2020, the Women’s March gave Ben & Jerry’s special acknowledgement on its “Partners” pages. In fact, Ben & Jerry’s is so dedicated to the mission of the Women’s March that it created an Pecan Resist, a new ice cream flavor, to support the Women’s March (and three other left-wing causes).
After this partnership was announced, many were outraged because of the Women’s March’s ties to the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, whose anti-Semitism has been publicly documented. Ben & Jerry’s responded by defending the Women’s March leaders, even reposting the Women’s March’s statement on the Farrakhan controversy. Ben & Jerry’s ended its post by talking about how the company is guided by its progressive principles.
Indeed, Ben & Jerry’s is perhaps the most well-known variant of “woke capital.” On its values page, Ben & Jerry’s claims to be dedicated to racial justice, democracy, GMO labeling, fair trade, climate justice, LGBT equality, banning rBGH, “Get The Dough Out Of Politics,” peace building, and refugees. Ben & Jerry’s also come out in support of reparations to the descendants of African American slaves. Most notably, Ben & Jerry’s endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for president, creating two special ice cream flavors dedicated to him, one for the 2016 and one for 2020.
Another big brand partner for the 2020 and 2019 Women’s Marches was Lush, a cosmetics company known mostly for its bath bombs.
In 2017, Lush CEO and cofounder Mark Constantine sat down with U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has called terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends.” Lush too has a long history of agitating for Palestinian extremism. In 2011, The Forward reported Lush was supporting the group OneWorld, which created a song, “Freedom for Palestine,” with lyrics attacking Israel for “crime against humanity.” At the time, a statement on Lush’s website reportedly stated, “The catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is one of the defining global justice issues of our time” and “If OneWorld are successful at getting the song in the charts, the mainstream media will find it hard to ignore it or censor its message.” In 2016, Quartz reported that Lush gave money to London Palestine Action, among other left-wing causes.
On social media, Lush has repeatedly shared a post claiming that Israel controls access to water in Palestine. In 2018, Lush U.K. wrote a biography of an organization shortlisted for its spring prize, beginning the entry by claiming the group was “Regenerating Palestine” in “Israeli-occupied Palestine.” In 2019, Lush shared on various social media platforms, in various languages, that “Palestine’s water supplies have been controlled by Israel.” A featured story on Lush’s U.K. website about almond oil mentions almond oil comes from both Israel and Palestine, but the bolded introductory paragraph singles out Palestine: “Enabling Palestinian farmers to earn a sustainable livelihood and the communities caught in conflict to connect with the outside world.” The summary also mentions the oil is a form of “peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation.”
On top of its anti-Israel advocacy, the American version of Lush has a “Charity Pot program” that supports many different organizations as partners, such as People’s Climate Arts, which makes artwork for “mass demonstrations and actions”; Garden State Equality Education Fund, which Lush helps by providing “printed materials” to the anti-bullying and anti-gay conversion therapy organization, the Prison Yoga Project; the anti-“privilege” Beyond Boarding organization dedicated to social justice in snowboarding; and many, many others. On its US website, Lush brags that since 2007, it has donated more than $33 million to various charities around the world because of its Charity Pot program. Additionally, Lush awards £20,000 each to various groups every year, including Police Spies Out of Lives, which seeks to expose alleged abuses by undercover British police officers who infiltrated social justice and environmentalist groups, and Reprieve, a group dedicated to closing down Guantanamo Bay.
Lush also allows organizations to “use” Lush’s platform to advocate for their own issues. In 2016, Lush supported accepting more refugees with its Refugees Welcome campaign, raised $300,000 for groups in Lush’s Friendship Fund from sales of its Hand of Friendship Soap. Lush also created a 31 States Bath Bomb to end the death penalty.
By far the most controversial bath product that Lush was the Guantanamo Garden “ballistic,” which contained images of Binyam Mohamed and Al-Jazeera journalist Sami Al Haj, two men detained at Guantanamo Bay. Money raised from sales of the bath “ballistic” went to Reprieve.
While Ben & Jerry’s political proclivities make it a natural supporter of the Women’s March, eeBoo, a seemingly apolitical children’s toy manufacturer, is an unexpected supporter. eeBoo sells an assortment of puzzles, games, and other toys on its website. One puzzle is dedicated to the Women’s March, with $10 from each purchase having gone to supporting the 2020 Women’s March. eeBoo also offers flash cards about suffrage and an “equal rights paper fan,” which also supported the 2020 Women’s March. The webpage dedicated to the Women’s March partnership claims eeBoo is “proud to partner with the Women’s March 2020.”
Johnnie Walker’s Absence
Johnnie Walker was notably absent in 2020 list of supporters, after it received a special thanks in 2019. In 2019, the Women’s March advertised that supporters could download and print artwork from the Jane Walker website to use during the march. The official Johnnie Walker brand also advertised the signs on its social media. Johnnie Walker also reportedly handed out complimentary signs to marchers.
Overall, while support for the Women’s March appears to be waning among the general population, large companies have still willingly cosigned the Women’s March’s message—no matter how much hot water the Women’s March is in. Consumers should be aware of the radical politics that some of their favorite brands support.