Anti-vaxxers 'boycotting' Chapman's ice cream
Anti-vaxxers are targeting Chapman's ice cream over the company's COVID-19 vaccination policy, threatening members of the family-owned business.
“In fact, I got a threatening package this morning from Druthers, saying 'the hundreds of employees you’ve fired,' now we’re going to come out with an article, and that will show you who’s boss,” says the vice-president of the family-run ice cream company, Ashley Chapman.
Druthers is an anti-vaccine, anti-COVID-19-restriction alternative "news" publication.
On Nov. 12, Chapman’s announced they’d be giving their fully-vaccinated employees a $1 per hour raise by month’s end. Disgruntled employees leaked the raise news to some anti-vaccine groups, who have in turn launched a boycott of Chapman’s products.
That came less than a week after, Chapman’s started twice-a-week rapid testing for about 100 of their 850 employees, who had decided against getting vaccinated. Five employees refused, and are currently on unpaid leave.
“The far-right anti-vaxxers have taken it up, as in, we’re horrible people, and we need to be taught a lesson,” says Chapman.
So far, Chapman says the boycott has not impacted sales of their ice cream treats at all. He calls the boycott “frustrating” since the company was trying to find a middle ground, by deciding against a vaccine mandate, as many other organizations and businesses have.
“We’re really trying hard to work with these people, but it can be tough at times, especially when you’re being boycotted for this. It seems a bit ridiculous,” he says.
A counter movement, #IStandwithChapmans, has gained a little momentum with supporters who are promising to buy even more ice cream in the coming months to support the Markdale, Ont.-based company.
“It’s been overwhelming on the other side of things, it’s just that the negative comments, they hurt. We’re trying to do good in everything we do, so this was somewhat unexpected,” he says.
The $1 per hour premium for fully-vaccinated Chapman’s employees takes effect Nov. 28. The unpaid leave for the five employees who refused rapid testing started Monday.
In March 2020, the ice cream company announced a "pandemic pay boost," giving employee a $2 per hour pay increase. The wage increase became permanent later that year.