Scarlett Johansson quits as Oxfam ambassador over West Bank row
Hollywood star faced heat from pro-Palestine activists for ad campaign with company that operates a factory in Palestine-claimed Israel territory
Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticised over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman on Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress had “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement 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.”
Earlier this month, The Avengers and Her actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International, and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on February 2.
SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.
In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic co-operation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine”.
Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador”.
The actress said in a statement that she “never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance” as part of her affiliation with SodaStream.
Johansson added that she stood behind the SodaStream product.
Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.
Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.