Scarlett Johansson has decided to quit as an ambassador for Oxfam amid a row over her support for SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates in the occupied West Bank.
A spokesman for Scarlett Johansson said she had a “fundamental difference of opinion” with the humanitarian group.
Scarlett Johansson will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream, which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim.
Oxfam opposes trade from settlements, which are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
About 500,000 Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
A statement from Scarlett Johansson’s spokesman published on Wednesday announced that the Hollywood star had “respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years”, according to the Associated Press.
Scarlett Johansson will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream, which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim
“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,” it added.
On Thursday, Oxfam issued a statement saying it had accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down and was 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,” it added.
“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.”
Scarlett Johansson signed up to be a global brand ambassador with SodaStream International Ltd earlier this month, and is due to appear in an advertisement for the firm during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Her statement added: “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.”
SodaStream, which makes products that allow people to produce carbonated soft drinks at home, operates one of the hundreds of factories constructed in some 20 Israeli-run industrial zones in the West Bank.
SodaStream ad that was banned from Sunday night’s Super Bowl game can now be viewed by anyone on YouTube and the company behind it is reaping the benefits.
SodaStream, which makes home water carbonators used to whip up homemade soda, directly challenged Coca-Cola and Pepsi in its commercial that was set to air in the fourth quarter.
CBS saw the ad as a challenge to two behemoth advertisers and promptly banned it.
“Because SodaStream is a direct competitor of the Big Soda brands that tend to be ubiquitous during the Super Bowl,” SodaStream told The Huffington Post. “The rejection of one of the company’s proposed ads, which takes aim at Big Soda, is perhaps not surprising.”
The ad pits a Coke and a Pepsi delivery driver against each other in a dueling banjos moment that culminates in both drivers’ merchandise exploding as a man opts for Soda Stream, instead.
It was reported banned on Friday.
This is not an unusual occurrence. The biggest night in football draws a massive viewership and seconds-long ads can cost millions.
But SodaStream claims they didn’t intend for their ad to be cancelled, as other advertisers have been doing for years to win some cheap PR.
SodaStream ad that was banned from Sunday night’s Super Bowl game can now be viewed by anyone on YouTube and the company behind it is reaping the benefits
Forced to rework the commercial for air during Super Bowl XLVII, the original spot has now gone viral on the internet and SodaStream has been rewarded with a mountain of publicity nonetheless.
Despite their claims to innocence in the matter, this a path the company has gone down before.
An ad intended for UK viewers was banned by the company Clearcast in November 2012 for the exact same issue when the broadcaster claimed the spot “denigrated other soft drinks”.
SodaStream subsequently posted its largest ever stock market gains.
Prior to that, the company received a cease and desist demand from Coca-Cola after placing displays made out of used water bottles and soda cans that portrayed the company as wasteful in South Africa and elsewhere.
It remains unclear if the Isreali company is intentionally culling publicity from its advertising misbehavior.
However, SodaStream will certainly win at least a few fans as the banned Super Bowl ad gains millions of free views on YouTube.