Ben Cohen, the co-founder of renowned ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, has once again found himself involved in a controversial incident. On Thursday, he was detained by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers during a protest in Washington, D.C. The protest aimed to impede access to the Department of Justice (DOJ) building, and Cohen was present to voice his opposition to the imprisonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in Belmarsh Prison in London and faces potential extradition to the United States.
Cohen sat with a female demonstrator advocating for Assange’s release, surrounded by law enforcement. Later, images showed him being led away in handcuffs by DHS officers.
Known for his ice cream business, Cohen’s political activism has made him controversial. His involvement in the DOJ protest follows recent controversy involving Ben & Jerry’s and their stance on Israel and the United States’ territorial history.
Cohen’s protest at the DOJ focused on Assange’s detention and his criticism of solitary confinement as torture. Supporters defend it as defending democracy, while critics see it as misguided support for a cyber-criminal. There is a divided opinion on Assange, with some viewing him as a criminal and others as a political prisoner.
Cohen has a history of legal trouble for activism, including a 2018 arrest for protesting noise pollution. These incidents raise questions about the effectiveness of his disruptive approach to advocacy.
Interestingly, despite Cohen’s arrest, this protest may be one of his less controversial actions. Ben & Jerry’s recent off-topic and far-left political comments, such as suggesting the return of land to indigenous people on the 4th of July, have stirred more controversy.