Ben & Jerry‘s Apologizes for ’Lin-Sanity’ Fortune Cookie Ice Cream (Jami J.)

The Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company has apologized for putting fortune cookie pieces in its commemorative “Taste the Lin-Sanity” flavor honoring New York Knicks phenomJeremy Lin.

The frozen yogurt pints — available for a limited time in the Ben & Jerry’s Harvard Square, Mass. location — were originally made with vanilla frozen yogurt, lychee honey swirls and pieces of fortune cookie. The fortune cookies were swapped out for a fresh waffle cone cookie on the side after complaints of racial insensitivity.

“We offer a heartfelt apology if anyone was offended by our handmade Lin-Sanity flavor,” read a statement issued Friday on the company’s behalf, CNN reported. “We are proud and honored to have Jeremy Lin hail from one of our fine, local universities and we are huge sports fans. Our intention was to create a flavor to honor Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments and his meteoric rise in the NBA, and recognize that he was a local Harvard graduate.”

“We try [to] demonstrate our commitment as a Boston-based, valued-led business and if we failed in this instance we offer our sincere apologies,” the statement said.

Ben & Jerry’s general manager Ryan Midden told the Boston Globe they “obviously weren’t looking to offend anybody.”

“There seemed to be a bit of an initial backlash about it,” Midden acknowledged, though he told the newspaper the primary reason for swapping the fortune cookies out was because “a couple of [pints] got returned because the cookies got so soggy.”

It’s hardly the first dust-up to surround the Asian-American point guard’s meteoric rise to fame: Last week, ESPN was forced to apologize after it ran a headline about Lin using the phrase “chink in the armor.” The network later announced the employee responsible had been fired and that another employee was on suspension for using the phrase on-air.

The fired headline writer later released a statement saying he had had a “lapse in judgement” and did not intend the phrase as a racist pun.

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This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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