Chapman’s Ice Cream faces backlash and boycott over vaccination policy

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When Ashley Chapman announced a new vaccine policy at her Ontario ice cream company, she never expected people to boycott her product, send her hate mail, and call her aging father a Nazi.

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Chapman is the vice president of Chapman’s Ice Cream, a family business in Markdale, Ont., that has been distributing ice cream products across Canada for 48 years.

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His company is now at the center of what some anti-vaccine organizations and activists call a “bad” campaign.

“The response was very brutal, very, very aggressive in fact. People were calling us, leaving messages after hours. I have been sent, the only thing I can say is hate packages in the mail,” Chapman told as it happens Host Carol Off.

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“Even my father, my 78-year-old father, got a voicemail on his phone saying that he was like Hitler, and apparently a Nazi, and that we were essentially going to war. must be convicted of the offences.”

Vaccines not mandatory – but testing is

As per the company’s new policy, any employee who has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to undergo two rapid tests a week. The company pays for the test.

“We live in a small rural community and, you know, I know everyone around here. So we really felt there wasn’t much of a vaccine rigid approach or anything,” he said. said.

So far, he says that about 750 of his 850 employees have been fully vaccinated. Of the remaining 100, he says, some have received a single dose, and others plan to respond soon.

“So we’re hoping that number will be reduced, maybe in half, maybe in a month or so,” he said.

He says five employees have declined to disclose the status of their vaccines or conduct rapid tests. He said they are currently on unpaid leave, but that the three will return to work soon. He did not specify how the conflict was resolved.

$1 increase for vaccinations

But it was not vaccine policy alone that drew the ire of anti-vaccine campaigners. It was news that Chapman would be offering a $1 per hour increase to every fully vaccinated employee by the end of the month.

It’s a move that some critics of the company say are opposing equal pay for equal work. A letter circulating online notes that Chapman is not unionized, and that employees therefore have limited recourse, should they take issue with the vaccine policy or escalation.

They don’t really know what our policy is. They just assume that we are evil, and we have fired hundreds of uneducated employees to teach them a lesson, which is absolutely not the case.–Ashley Chapman, Vice President of Chapman’s Ice Cream

Chapman says that’s the company’s way of balancing the cost of rapid testing.

“We calculated the cost per non-vaccinated employee … and it worked out to about $40 per person. And I was sitting here with my mom one morning, and it felt like we were getting better treatment than vaccinations.” were,” Chapman said.

“So we said, you know what? Let’s try and be the same for both sides.”

The news, coupled with a screenshot of a memo from the company reminding employees about its vaccine policy, was leaked to several anti-vaccine Facebook groups and media outlets, where it drew widespread rebuke for boycotting Chapman’s products. And made a promise.

businesshala has reviewed certain letters, emails and social media comments directed at Chapman. Many accused the company of atrocities and called on people to boycott its ice cream and send their complaints directly to the vice president.

Many people make unsubstantiated claims about the safety of Health Canada-approved vaccines.

“It’s crazy, it’s over the top and it’s ignorant because they don’t really know what our policy is. They just believe we’re bad, and [that] We’ve fired hundreds of uneducated employees for teaching a lesson, which is absolutely not the case,” Chapman said.

backlash to backlash

Chapman says she’s also getting a flood of helpful messages. A campaign called #IStandwithChapmans has started to counter the negative attention the company is receiving.

“Your average Canadian coast to coast was horrified that we were the target of these guys,” Chapman said. “The shower of affection from across the country has been really nice.”

He says the boycott hasn’t affected the company’s bottom line — and he hopes it never will.

“There just aren’t enough Canadians out there who are anti-vax enough to send us hate mail and affect our sales,” he said. “They may think that their exclusion may actually do something for us, but we will never notice.”


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Sarah Jackson.

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