Alt-right fuels Chobani boycott after finding out the yogurt company hires Muslim refugees


Live and active cultures has never been such a lively business. 

Popular yogurt brand Chobani is attracting both support and criticism because the company employs many refugees and immigrants, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. 

Chobani's founder and owner, Hamdi Ulukaya, is a Turkish immigrant who has advocated strongly for companies to hire migrant workers. Along with the yogurt empire, he started Tent Foundation, a group that conducts research and facilitates partnerships to improve the lives of people who are displaced by conflicts around the world. So Ulukaya walks the walk when it comes to championing immigrants and refugees within his own company. 

Refugees make up 30% of the Chobani workforce in Twin Falls, Idaho, the Daily Beast reported, noting that Idaho is one of the largest milk-producing states in the U.S. 

Ulukaya is well known for his generosity — he signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment to give his wealth to support refugees, he offers paid parental leave to all employees, and he plans to give employees 10% of the company when it goes public. Chobani's incubator also sponsors food start ups that will disrupt the food industry, Mic previously reported.  

But a slew of negative articles from politically-conservative publication Breitbart has incited people on Twitter to call for a boycott of Chobani, the New York Times noted. 

Luckily, many Twitter users flocked to the Internet to proudly voice their support for the company and its values. 

Here's the ironic thing: There are serious economic benefits to welcoming refugees. Allowing refugees to work increases GDP. Plus, employing refugeesmeans they won't cost tax payers as much and means they can start building independent lives, Mic previously reported.

"People are very concerned that with all these unplanned arrivals of refugees, they could unintentionally not be integrated, which would create parallel societies," Robert L. McKenzie, a visiting fellow at Brookings Institute for the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, previously told Mic.

A report from the Tent Foundation revealed that overseas, investing just one euro in refugees can yield two euros in economic benefits in just five years. Refugee workers can fill gaps in labor markets and bring new ideas to the countries where they resettle. Case in point: Sergey Brin, a Soviet Union refugee and the founder of Google, the report noted. 

Around 51 American corporations have pledged $65 million towards supporting refugees, PBS reported, explaining that companies like Facebook, and MasterCard are putting dollars towards combatting the humanitarian crisis. 

Perhaps someone should tell the many Facebook groups calling for Chobani boycotts that they'd better boycott Facebook, too. 

Chobani declined to comment in an email to Mic. Tent Foundation also did not respond to Mic's request for comment.