Apparently, that sentiment is spreading. A Boycott Blue Bunny facebook page, put up days ago, already has about 95,000 likes and 2000 posts, one of which urges people to also boycott store brands made by Wells Dairy, such as Great Value, Hy-Vee, Fareway, Shurfresh and Country Rich.
The Iowa Independent reported that Dean Genth of Mason City, the president of the Iowa Coalition of PFLAG Chapters, started the boycott of Blue Bunny ice cream and dairy products following Vander Plaats' refusal to comment on his "Good One!" reaction to a fag joke by a conservative Audubon, Iowa supporter caught on tape by Think Progress, which notes that Vander Plaats would have floundered in obscurity had it not been for the backing of well-connected and deep-pocketed donors, particularly the Wells family behind Wells Dairy.
The company, headquartered in Le Mars, Iowa, is the third largest ice cream maker in the United States and sells its products under the Blue Bunny label. Wells Dairy has 5 percent market share behind Nestlé (Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s, Mövenpick) and Unilever (Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers Ice Cream), licenses the Weight Watchers brand of ice creams, sells Chef Duff’s ice cream (of Ace of Cakes fame), and partners with Disney to offer Disney-branded novelties. But the Wells family is interested in more than frozen desserts. Mike Wells, the president and CEO of the company, was a member of Vander Plaats’ council of advisers during his gubernatorial campaign and public records reveal that Wells family members have contributed at least $456,000 to Vander Plaats and his affiliated organizations and campaigns:
Mike Wells, CEO of Wells Dairy,
Inc., and friend/funder of Bob
Vander Plaats' campaign to recall
all Iowa Supreme Court Justices
– $184,500 from Wells family members for his 2010 gubernatorial race, his largest contributors.
– $246,000 from Wells family members for his 2006 gubernatorial race.
– $25,500 from Wells family members for his 2002 gubernatorial race.
– $25,500 to the Iowa Family Center PAC, a group associates with the FAMiLY Leader.
Mike and his wife Cheryl Wells have also started at least two ministries, including The Living Center and Side by Side Ministries, aimed at spreading “the Word of God to others.” Vander Plaats also serves as a channel of the Almighty — and a loyal customer for the family’s product. As one local NBC news story concluded, after his loss in 2010, Vander Plaats “celebrated the end of the night with ice cream. [He] went 100 days without eating his favorite treat.”