More than 13 million and counting have seen the young woman open a container of Blue Bell ice cream and, seemingly egged on by her boyfriend, proceed to sweep her tongue across the frozen confection before closing the lid and placing it back in a supermarket freezer. It turns out, she is a juvenile and under Texas law, will not be officially named.
The incident took place June 28 in a Lufkin, Texas Walmart.
Disgusted, many had called for her to be named and then arrested. And the ice cream manufacturer promised to get to the bottom of the outrage.
Identified on social media early on as a female from San Antonio, Texas, named “Asia,” an Instagram user who used the handle xx.asiaaaa.xx while her account was active, boasted about her becoming famous, and said that she recently had the flu, which compounded the outrage. There are myriad other “Asia,” accounts some with “Kween Asia,” or similar on IG and Facebook but none have been confirmed to be the “Asia.”
People asked the San Antonio Police why she has not been arrested and charged. But police in San Antonio say they are not investigating and have not been contacted by Blue Bell. Houston police were also looking into the incident. Walmart display cases in stores in both cities were checked out to see what matched. And, police believed her boyfriend was from Houston and she was perhaps in that city.
And it turned out, it was Lufkin, Texas Police who would be searching her out.
On Wednesday afternoon, Blue Bell contacted Lufkin cops to say the incident took place in that city’s store.
Police there said, “By 4 p.m., detectives had obtained surveillance video placing a woman matching the suspect description in the Lufkin store on June 28 around 11 p.m.” Detectives believed they had her identified.
Then Friday at noon, Lufkin Police emailed Heavy to say that the ice cream licker is a “juvenile” and will not be officially named.
“Our detectives have identified and spoken with the suspect in the “Blue Bell licking” case. She is a juvenile from San Antonio tied to the Lufkin area through her boyfriend’s family,” Lufkin police spokesperson Jessica Pebsworth said. “Because she is a juvenile offender, her identity is protected under section 58.104 of the Texas Family Code. The case will be turned over to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.”
Not everyone was thrilled with the outcome based on Facebook comments.
In its original post, Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson said, “Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Williamson said.
Blue Bell has removed all half-gallons of “Tin Roof” product from the Lufkin Walmart shelves.
Then, by late Wednesday night, police were very close to confirming her identify and said she’d be arrested and charged with a second-degree felony’ tampering with a consumer product.
In Texas law, it’s a felony to tamper with a consumer product if someone could be injured as a result. ‘Asia’ said she had been ill and suggested by licking the ice cream, others might become ill, too. Under state law, the tampering charge has varying degrees from first to third with punishment that includes fines and jail time.
“A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally tampers with a consumer product knowing that the consumer product will be offered for sale to the public …” Upon conviction, and depending on the degree, the punishment begins with a fine of up to $10,0000 and prison time from 2 years to life.
When prosecuting a juvenile on these charges, it’s not clear yet if the statutes apply similarly.
Lufkin police initially said they were also looking to charge her boyfriend as he reportedly filmed the licking.
Later Friday, Lufkin police again reached out to provide more information on the case.
Pebsworth said “the suspect is tied to the Lufkin area through her boyfriend’s family. We have spoken with her boyfriend, who is an adult, as well. They were both forthcoming with what occurred and admitted to the act.”
Police said they “do not intend to pursue charges against her as an ‘adult’ and therefore what happens from here is at the discretion of the juvenile justice system.”
Police are still deciding what to do about the boyfriend.
“As to whether her boyfriend will face charges, we are currently discussing his involvement with prosecutors,” Pebsworth said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Egged On to Lick the Ice Cream, the Young Woman Reportedly Named ‘Asia’ Complies, Runs Her Tongue Across the Top & Puts it Back Inside the Store Freezer & Throws Up Deuces. People Are Disgusted & Angry
The young woman set her Instagram to private after she was reportedly outed. Then that account was shuttered and another created. That one now too is shut down. But from the outset, “Asia” not only did not appear to be shy about the licking, rather she not only boasted, but challenged others to do the same. And there’s myriad evidence including screengrabs of her posts before she shuttered her Instagram account, but also of Snapchat videos where she brags she’s become famous on Twitter …and did not even have a Twitter account.
One Twitter user called her out. Using her now-shuttered Instagram: “She lives in San Antonio near Jones-Maltsberger rd. You can see it on her third highlighted story on her IG. Her name is Asia and the police department closest to Jones-Maltsberger road is San Antonio Police Department. The number is 1-210-207-8126. Btw food tampering is a felony.”
2. She Claimed She Had the Flu & Since the Flavor Was ‘Tin Roof,’ She Called For a #TinRoofChalllenge: ‘Let’s Start an Epidemic’ But Police Now Say That Was a ‘Catfish’
“Yeah, I really dd that,” she wrote. “Now you can call it Flu Bell ice cream ’cause I was a lil sick last week.”
“Repost yourself doing this with the hashtag tinroofchallenge let’s see if we can start an epidemic (literally).”
Pebsworth also said that what has “made this case difficult is that a ‘catfish’ with a similar screen name (within one letter of the suspect’s screen name) began taking credit for it.”
But police said a “catfish and not our suspect who bragged on Instagram about the incident saying: “Yeah, I really did that. You can call it Flu Bell ice cream now ‘cause I was a lil sick last week. Repost yourself doing this. Let’s see if we can start an epidemic (literally).”
There were roughly 4-6 women with similar screen names and appearances that law enforcement had to eliminate – including the catfish – before getting to the actual suspect.
3. Blue Bell Worked With Police, Retailers & Social Media ‘Partners’ to Get to the Bottom of the Episode. It Also Explained How the Lid is Frozen-Sealed
Thousands tweeted at Blue Bell Creameries, in business making ice cream in Brenham, Texas, since 1907, about the incident. And Blue Bell tweeted the same reply over and over.
“We want to thank our consumers for alerting us to the incident this past weekend of a video posted to social media showing a Blue Bell item being tampered with. We take this issue very seriously are and are currently working with law-enforcement, retail partners and social media platforms. This type of incident will not be tolerated. Food safety is a top priority, and we work hard to provide a safe product and maintain the highest level of confidence from our consumers. During production, our half gallons are flipped upside down and sent to a hardening room where the ice cream freezes to the lid creating a natural seal. The lids are frozen tightly to the carton. Any attempt at opening the product should be noticeable. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
But some who love the brand are asking the company to consider using an actual seal to secure the container top.
The Blue Bell Tin Roof flavor, vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and dark chocolate covered roasted peanuts, is relatively new and its debut in January generated a lot of buzz.
4. Twitter Sleuths & People Who Claim to Know Her Outed ‘Asia’ on Social. Then Came the Copycats, Some Looking For Clout, Commenters Say
“They have ID this girl. She’s from San Antonio, TX. Blue Bell Icecream Company is pressing charges for product tampering which is a felony in TX!!! Hope that lick was worth it, honey!!!,” tweeted user Trema Gordon.
“Just a joke I paid for this….”
But people are asking for receipts, in this case, not colloquially speaking but an actual paper receipt.
“Lol receipt or you’re going to jail and you know it.”
5. Some Recall That Pop Singer Ariana Grande Was Called out, But Not Charged, When She Was Seen on Camera Licking a Doughnut in 2015
“Ight so lemme just get this straight, a black girl licks the top of some Ice Cream and all of the sudden she’s facing real jail time, But ain’t nobody make that big of a deal when Ariana did it with some donuts, Wonder why ?”
“Question, why is the lady that licked the #BlueBell #icecream getting called out so bad but, let’s not forget the time @ArianaGrande #licked a #donut in the donut shop.”
“Didn’t @ArianaGrande lick donuts at a shop & put them back? They’re both hella disgusting.”