Yesterday, I covered the multiple issues people were having with Scarlett Johansson’s recent endorsement deal/advertising campaign for SodaStream. The SodaStream commercial was banned from airing during the SuperBowl because ScarJo name-checked Coke and Pepsi in the ad (Coke later said they didn’t have a problem with it, so I guess Pepsi had the issue). I also mentioned that Scarlett is being heavily criticized because SodaStream has a production plant in the West Bank. Scarlett is an Oxfam ambassador, and Oxfam (along with many other human rights organizations) has criticized the use of the West Bank for Israeli commercial property. Oxfam issued a statement about ScarJo’s SodaStream ad, but the statement was basically like, “She’s free to do whatever she wants, but this whole thing is a disaster.” They did not push her out of Oxfam. But now she’s pulling out of Oxfam on her own:
Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”
Earlier this month, “The Avengers” and “Her” actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.
SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.
In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”
Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.
Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Many of you took me to task for saying that Scarlett’s previous statement in support of SodaStream was “realistic”. I still think it is. And I think her withdrawal from Oxfam is sad for both Scarlett and Oxfam. At the end of the day, the Israeli-Palestinian situation isn’t going to be solved because one American actress became a spokesperson for SodaStream and withdrew as an ambassador for Oxfam. She was raising money for them and working on their behalf about the 95% of issues they can agree on. This, to me, is throwing the baby out with the bath water. You’re going to throw away one of your ambassadors because she doesn’t agree with you about one the touchiest, most controversial and most complicated global issues in the world? And she’s going to walk away from eight years of humanitarian activism because she doesn’t agree with them? It’s sad. This could have been a teachable moment of nuance and education, but Oxfam and Scarlett both tapped out.
Photos courtesy of WENN.