Explaining The Scarlett Johansson SodaSteam Saga
Scarlett Johansson leaves her role as Oxfam ambassador over her new role as spokesperson for Sodastream.
Actress Scarlett Johansson announced this week that she is ending her eight year relationship with Oxfam over her Sodastream endorsement. A statement released by Johansson's spokesman read: "Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years. 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."
Johansson being unveiled by Sodastream as its new ambassador
Problems began between Johansson and the humanitarian charity when she signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd. The actress has since filmed a commercial with the brand intended to be aired this Sunday during the Superbowl.
Sodastream has generated controversy because it maintains a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians. Pro-Palestinian activists claim the company is taking advantage of the Palestinian residents who have few other employment options. In her new role as Brand Ambassador, Johansson was quick to respond to the criticisms saying she was a 'supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.’ However Scarlett’s new role did not sit well with Oxfam, who said they were 'considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson's role as an Oxfam global ambassador.’
When news of Scarlett’s departure from Oxfam was announced, the charity responded with their own statement saying, "Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions. While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. 'Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”
Scarlett at the premiere of Don Jon in New York
They ended by highlighting the work that the actress had done with the charity since joining in 2005, saying "Ms Johansson has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and in 2007 became a Global Ambassador, helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty."
During her time at Oxfam Johansson travelled extensively with the charity, visiting Sir Lanka, India and Kenya to draw attention to the impact of poverty and natural disasters.
The Oxfam saga isn't the only controversy stemming from Scarlett’s new role. The Superbowl commercial, set to air on Sunday had to be revised after the original advert was banned for mentioning competitors Coca-Cola and Pepsi.