The ice cream giant shared a blistering series of messages, addressed to Home Secretary Priti Patel, on Tuesday evening stressing that “people cannot be illegal”.
The firm posted the six-part thread in response to Home Office plans to stem the latest surge in Channel crossings through tougher Border Controls.
It wrote: “People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice.
“The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.
“People cannot be illegal.”
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..— Ben & Jerry's UK (@benandjerrysUK)August 11, 2020
It continued by insisting that “stronger borders aren’t the answer” and urged ministers to talk to “expert organisations”, including charity Refugee Action.
The thread ends: “Let’s remember we’re all human and have the same rights to life regardless of the country we happen to have been born in.
“And once more for the back: PEOPLE CANNOT BE ILLEGAL.”
The post was shared more than 6,000 times within four hours, as scores of Twitter users praised the US company for speaking out.
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One wrote: “Ben and Jerry: not all political heroes wear capes, some simply make amazing ice-cream and just seek to make the world a better place.
"We love you Ben and Jerry!"
However, a Home Office source swiftly hit back at the brand, labelling it “overpriced junk food”, according to the BBC.
They said: "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."
OOOF! Home Office source: “Priti is working day&night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs&are of serious concern. If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food then so be it.” https://t.co/QIrfXOjZ5w— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC)August 11, 2020
Other Twitter users condemned Ben and Jerry's for political “pontificating” and alleged hypocrisy.
The frozen goods creator, founded in 1978 by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, was bought by the multinational company Unilever in 2000 for around £246 million.
Journalist James Ball commented: “A lack of humanity for people fleeing war, you say?
“A group of 218 Kenyan tea plantation workers have filed a complaint with the UN against Unilever.
“Who owns Ben & Jerry’s again?”
Last week the UK-listed firm announced it was extending a paid advertising boycott on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram until the end of the year.
It accused the social media giants of doing too little to remove hateful content and misinformation.
Unilever would not say if it would commit other brands in its stable to the move, instead pointing out that Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of activism.
The British-Dutch consumer goods company also owns brands including PG Tips, Marmite, Pot Noodle and Dove soap.