Unilever backs away from rainbow Golden Gaytime ice-cream after social media outrage

Unilever has backed away from a rainbow ice-cream amid anti-LGBT pressure.

The huge corporation, which is worth more than £50 billion, suffered an online backlash after a customised version of its Golden Gaytime ice-cream went viral in Indonesia.

Men arrested in a recent raid stand in line during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017. Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said on May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country. / AFP PHOTO / FERNANDO (Photo credit should read FERNANDO/AFP/Getty Images)

Men arrested in a recent raid stand in line during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017.
Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna (Photo by FERNANDO/AFP/Getty Images)

The country cracked down on LGBT people last year, with the mass arrest of 141 men at a “gay sex party” just one of many attacks on the community.

So when a picture of the Golden Gaytime ice-cream covered in rainbow colours went viral online, many Indonesians reacted furiously.

One example of the hateful reactions (Facebook/Harmasto.Hendro.Kusworo)

The special version of the sweet treat was made in March by Jesse James McElroy, for Sydney Mardi Gras in Australia, and has never been released widely.

It has certainly never been sold in Indonesia.

But that didn’t matter to commenters who were angry at the very idea of ice-cream with multiple colours, which makes about as much sense as homophobia.

In response to threats of a boycott, Unilever distanced itself from the custom creation and assured Indonesians that it respects the country’s “cultural and religious values”.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: Indonesian gay couple walk as arrive for caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Gay men in Indonesia being led to be lashed 83 times (Getty)

The statement read: “The Gaytime ice cream mentioned in the social media are not the products of Wall’s Indonesia.

“Unilever has been in Indonesia for 84 years and we respect and upholds the cultural and religious values and norms in Indonesia.

Indonesian gay man gets caned

Indonesian gay man gets caned for having sex (Getty)

“We always ensure that our products, activities and campaigns in Indonesia are suitable for Indonesians from different backgrounds.”

These “norms” seemingly do not include support for LGBT rights, which was absent from the company’s statement.

TAKENGON, INDONESIA:  An Acehnese executor flogs a convicted woman in Takengon, in Indonesian central Aceh province, 19 August 2005 after an Islamic sharia court ordered four women to be flogged for petty gambling offences.  The public lashing was the second since the Indonesian government allowed the western province to implement religious law as part of broader autonomy granted in 2001 to curb a separatist Islamist insurgency.  AFP PHOTO  (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)


Last year in Indonesia, 58 people were arrested during a raid on a gay sauna.

Two men were given 83 lashes each as a legal punishment for having consensual sex in Aceh, where Shariah law is in effect and gay sex is illegal.

Men arrested for “gay sex party” (Getty)

The men were informed on by their neighbour, who took video footage.

The video showed vigilantes kicking, slapping and insulting the men.


And in September, lawmakers gave the green light to a proposed law that would outlaw ‘LGBT behaviours’ on television.