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Scarlett Johansson defends role in SodaStream ad
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
26/01/2014
Oxfam criticizes actress, is "considering implications" to her role as ambassador for the organization.
 
American actress Scarlett Johansson fired back at those who criticized her for her slated appearance in a Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, making it clear she would not be cutting ties with the company.

“While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air,” Johansson’s said in a statement, released to The Huffington Post.

”I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.”

She continued: “I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them.”

The Oxfam aid organization, for which Johansson has done advocacy work for years, criticized the actress for her relationship with the company, which produces a popular line of home seltzer machines.

“Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support,” the organization said in a statement posted on its website Thursday. “Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

In response to Oxfam’s remarks, Johansson stated: “As part of my efforts as an ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.”

“I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an ambassador for over eight years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two-state solution in the near future.”

As of Thursday, Oxfam had added an addendum to its online biography of Johansson: “We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam. Oxfam is now considering the implications her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

JTA contributed to this report.
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