Friday, 31 January 2014

Scarlett Johansson Sticks with SodaStream!

THE actress Scarlett Johansson has stepped down as an Ambassador for Oxfam because of her new job advertising SodaStream, a company which operates in the illegal settlement Ma’ale Adumim, in the Occupied West Bank.  Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam faced pressure from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign who demanded that Scarlett Johansson cut her ties with SodaStream, or Oxfam cut their ties with Scarlett Johansson.

She will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream, which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim.   The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborne, said:
'Scarlett Johansson's decision to represent SodaStream clearly violated Oxfam's policy of supporting human rights and justice.  By choosing to represent a company that operates in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land, she has already suffered major reputational damage. And by prioritising SodaStream over Oxfam, she has decided to profit from occupation, rather than challenge global poverty.   We thank all our supporters who made it clear to Oxfam that they needed to break from Scarlett Johansson.  And we thank Oxfam for supporting the rights of Palestinians.'

Oxfam have issued a statement saying that 'Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.'

Channel 4’s new series The Jump is sponsored by SodaStream.  Protesters are saying Channel 4  should not accept sponsorship from SodaStream because of human rights and international law and calling for on people to support protests in Brighton and London against shops stocking SodaStream.

Jonathan Cook, a journalist based in the Middle East, writes that 'no one comes out of this affair looking good'.  

Cook says on his blog that:
'Oxfam’s dithering and its final efforts to allow Johansson to present this as a resignation rather than a dismissal reinforces the point I made yesterday about how money talks, even for Oxfam.'

According to Cook:
'The charity (Oxfam) needs pretty ambassadors to raise funds and to gain media attention. Treating Johansson harshly, even now when the relationship is over, might put off other Hollywood starlets who hope to burnish their humanitarian credentials – at least as long as the work doesn’t interfere with their opportunities to make money, even when it comes at the expense of other people’s freedom.'

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