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Scarlett Johansson defends SodaStream amid criticism

The "Don Jon" star issued a statement regarding her controversial deal with SodaStream to "clear the air."
Posted By Veronica Linares Contact the Author   |   Jan. 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM
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Scarlett Johansson responded to criticism over her ad camping for SodaStream -- a company that operates a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank -- explaining it was never her intention to take a political stand when she signed on to represent the brand.

The 29-year-old actress released a statement via the Huffington Post Friday claiming she "never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance."

"I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine," the Don Jon star wrote. "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’ale Adumim factory every working day."

Oxfam International, another company that Johansson promotes, was among those who publicly criticized the actress for her SodaStream deal.

"Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors," the company wrote in a statement. "However 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. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

Johansson directly responded to Oxfam in her statement.

"I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them," she wrote. "I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 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."

A rep for Oxfam told the New York Times that in spite of their stance on the issue, the company has not asked Johansson to drop her deal with SodaStream.

SodaStream offers products that allow users to carbonate their beverages at home. The company claims to employ 550 Palestinians in its West Bank factory, who reportedly earn the same benefits as Israeli workers. While the company maintains that workers at its West Bank factory receive the same treatment as those in their 25 other factories, an anonymous Palestinian worker disputed the claim in a report published by The Electronic Intifada.

You can read Johansson's full statement below,

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.
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’ale Adumim factory every working day. 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 believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 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.

[Huffington Post]
[Oxfam]

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