Wilcoxson’s president, Matt Shaefer may be forced to resign because of what has been dubbed a ‘racist’ comment made to a Muslim on the company’s Facebook page. A self-identified Muslim customer asked if the Wilcoxson Ice Cream contained pork in the gelatin used to make it. Seeing a map of Pakistan under the man’s Facebook name, Shaefer replied, “We don’t deliver outside of Montana, certainly not to Pakistan.”
Billings Gazette (H/T Susan K) The meltdown started the evening of Sept. 21 when a man in Sheridan, Wyo., posted a Facebook comment about Wilcoxson’s “cookies and cream” flavor ice cream containing gelatin.
Schaeffer said he was tired that night, was responding to a series of posts and only read to the “pork” part of the sentence before clicking on the writer’s Facebook page where he saw a map of Pakistan and quickly wrote this response: “We don’t deliver outside of Montana, certainly not Pakistan.”
Schaeffer said he didn’t see the address of Sheridan, Wyo., because he didn’t read that far. “There was a map on his Facebook page with a map of Pakistan, with a balloon in the center. I presumed he was sending this from Pakistan,” Schaeffer said.
The commenter took offense and wrote: “What are u talking about!!??? I think.ur comment is rude to assume I live in Pakistan.”The man said “just because of your ignorance, I wont buy your ice cream and definitely wont recommend it.”
The Daily Mail’s online site in the United Kingdom published a Thursday story saying none of the angry comments seem to be coming from Montana. But The Mail said hostile commentators were flooding Yelp, a business review Website, and including one that said, “Wilcoxson’s is a horrible company run by hateful people.”
Alisa Prigge, of Denver, who said she and her husband are friends of the Wyoming man who asked about the gelatin, sent a letter on Sept. 26 to Wilcoxson’s calling for a boycott to “stand up to racism, ignorance and intolerance” and sent copies to Montana reporters. Prigge said she hadn’t talked to Schaeffer to hear his version of the story before she sent the email.
This was an honest mistake, Schaeffer said, “It was wrong. I screwed up,” he said, calling himself a social-media beginner who has only used Facebook for four months. Schaeffer actually took over the Wilcoxson’s Facebook page from a fan who created it after the fan said it became too much work. Wilcoxson’s is a company that has a history of shying away from media attention. Schaeffer refused to grant interviews and tours of the ice cream plant until this year when Wilcoxson’s celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The initial coverage Wednesday by the Bozeman Chronicle called Schaeffer’s comment “inflammatory” in its headline and lead sentence.
The derogatory telephone calls have been coming from out of state, Schaeffer said. After negative comments started pouring in on Wednesday, Schaeffer took the company’s Facebook page down. “The page will be put back up soon. It will be run by somebody other than myself, who is more adept at it,” he said.
See why Montanans have loved Wilcoxson’s for 100 years: Wilcoxson’s accepts a 26-year-old coupon for a FREE gallon of ice cream
If you’re ever in Montana, be sure to stop by Wilcoxson’s and buy some great ice cream.
Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream Company
314 S Main St, Livingston, MT 59047