Scarlett Johansson Defends Her Role as SodaStream SpokespersonBy: Shana Norris - March 10, 2014
Back in January, Scarlett Johansson was at the center of a controversy regarding her new role as SodaStream’s first official spokesperson. Soon enough, however, public attention shifted to her current and upcoming movie roles and the news that she’s expecting a baby with fiancé Romain Dauriac.
But in an interview published on Friday in The Telegraph, Johansson revisited the controversy.
SodaStream is headquartered in an Airport City, Israel office park that sits at the junction of Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Its main manufacturing facility is located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
“I’m not an expert on the history of this conflict, and I’ve never professed to be,” Johansson said. “But it is a company that I believe in, that I think has the ability to make a huge difference, environmentally. [SodaStream’s CEO] Daniel Birnbaum has said many times that this factory is one he inherited, and that he doesn’t want to fire people – the majority of those people being Palestinian.”
In late January, Johansson ended her ambassadorship with humanitarian organization Oxfam International after they took issue with her SodaStream deal.
She released a statement addressing her decision to part ways with Oxfam:
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” it 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.”
Oxfam’s response: “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.”
“Some of the best times of my life have been when I’ve travelled with Oxfam to see the amazing work that they’ve done,” Johansson said after her resignation.
She has vowed to continue using her celebrity to advocate on behalf of others, saying she plans to travel to Africa later this year to draw attention to the refugee situation there.
“The bigger issue here is global poverty. I have the ability to raise awareness and raise money – that’s a gift that’s been given to me – and I want to continue to use it. So I’m not going to shy away from doing that kind of work.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons