"Ignorant racist": Ben Stein Aunt Jemima syrup controversy explained as Ferris Bueller star comes under fire 

Ben Stein comes under fire for racist remarks about Aunt Jemima
Ben Stein comes under fire for racist remarks about Aunt Jemima's pancake syrup (Image via Getty images)

Lawyer and actor Ben Stein has landed himself in a pickle after going on a racist rant about Aunt Jemima's pancake syrup.

In a video shared on Twitter by Ron Filipkowski on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off actor is seen lamenting the old days when the syrup brand famously had a caricature of a "large African-American woman" on its bottle.

The image was removed from the brand's logo in 2021 by the company after the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.

Listening to the lawyer's tirade, Twitterati were left fuming. They promptly took to the micro-blogging site to criticize him. One user @realitychk_1, stated:

Aunt Jemima was rebranded as Pearl Milling Company in June 2021

After stating that he was making "breakfast for dinner," Stein was seen holding an old bottle of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. He then expressed his dissatisfaction at its recent rebranding, stating:

"Because of the inherent racism of America’s corporate culture, they decided to make it a white person or maybe no person at all."

Declaring his preference for the original logo design, Stein controversially added:

"But I prefer it when it was a Black person showing their incredible skill making pancakes."

Following years of public criticism that the caricature on the syrup bottles promoted racist stereotypes and with a larger racial reckoning happening in 2020 after George Floyd's murder, Pepsi Co. decided to put a stop to using Aunt Jemima's well-known image.

They also rebranded it as Pearl Milling Company, named after the company where the original Aunt Jemima brand was created.

"Why make this video?": Exasperated internet users call out Ben Stein for his racist remarks

Netizens were horrified and shocked at Ben Stein's questionable statements. They accused him of being "wilfully ignorant." Many pointed out that the actor prefers the old days as people could be openly racist back then.

Others commented that it was the 78-year-old himself who fell for the brand's "racist propaganda." User @AmirMW commented:

Another disappointed Twitter user, Anita Warren, remarked that:

"Actor Ben Stein used to be smart, entertaining, and funny... Now he's just a racist Creep!"

After listening to the 78-year-old's recent comments, one user, @chipgoines, sarcastically joked that he now understands why the protagonist from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ignored Stein's character.

Here are some more reactions and comments seen on Twitter following Stein's rant:

Who is Ben Stein?

Stein is a lawyer and actor known for his conservative commentaries on political and economic issues. He worked as an economist at the Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. and was a trial lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission. He later moved to the west coast, where he taught politics and civil rights at the University of California.

Ben Stein (Image via Getty Images)
Ben Stein (Image via Getty Images)

Following his successfully published editorials, the 78-year-old became a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford.

His work led him to consult on Hollywood movies, helping "liberal writers portray conservative families." The lawyer was soon offered roles in many commercials and movies. His peculiar stone-faced and deadpan line delivery landed him roles with bland and unemotional characters.

The speechwriter is famous for his role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and for hosting the show Win Ben Stein's Money.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal