In a rush to stamp their brand on the Zeitgeist, Ben & Jerry's released a new frozen yogurt flavor last week in honor of rising Knicks star (and Harvard grad) Jeremy Lin. The limited edition "Taste The Lin-Sanity" flavor was only sold for a few days in their Harvard Square location before controversy arose over the inclusion of "fortune cookie pieces." After initially replacing the first batches, the company has now formally and directly apologized: "We offer a heartfelt apology if anyone was offended by our handmade Lin-Sanity flavor," they said in a statement.
"We are proud and honored to have Jeremy Lin hail from one of our fine, local universities and we are huge sports fans," Ben & Jerry's said in the news release. "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."
Initially, the flavor was a mix of vanilla frozen yogurt, lychee honey swirls and the fortune cookie pieces—those have since been replaced by waffle cookies, a decision which Ryan Midden, Ben & Jerry's general manager for Boston and Cambridge, had said was only made because "a couple of [pints] got returned because the cookies got so soggy."
But in the wake of the ESPN "chink in the armor" headline controversy, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) released a handy guide to the media advising them not to use certain kinds of language or make certain connections with Lin just for the easy puns. Regarding food, they wrote: "Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no."