The owner of Eskimo Pie ice cream treats says it will change the name of its 99-year-old brand because the term is "derogatory," the company announced on Friday.
The move by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which owns Eskimo Pies, comes as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s announced changes to their brands following nationwide protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory,” Elizabell Marquez, the company’s head of marketing, said in a statement.
“This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values,” the statement adds.
The Eskimo Pie is America's first chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar and was invented in 1920 by Christian Nelson, according to Smithsonian Institution. The name came about from Nelson after collaborating with chemist and entrepreneur Russell Stover. The bar was patented in 1922.
"The new name and the images that came with it were meant to evoke the chilly north and the indigenous people who lived there, but it traded heavily on a stereotype," reads a Smithsonian Magazine story on the name from 2017.
"Although there has been little public pushback to the Eskimo Pie in the way there has been to the Washington Redskins, at least one woman, who was of Inuk heritage, has said that the name is offensive. In Canada, there is a football team named the Edmonton Eskimos which has been the source of Washington-style controversy."
Calls have also reignited to have the NFL's Washington Redskins and CFL's Edmonton Eskimos change their names, along with other sports teams including the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves.