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Scarlett Johansson Speaks Out About SodaStream Boycott Scandal

When actress Scarlett Johansson signed on as spokesperson for the Israeli company SodaStream in January, a P.R. battle of epic proportions erupted. Supporters of BDS pressured her to step down because the company has a factory in the West Bank, and Israel advocates urged her to stay on, citing the company’s favorable standing with its Palestinian employees and commitment to “doing the right thing and helping people.”

The upshot: Johansson stuck by SodaStream and ended her eight-year relationship with the charity Oxfam, which opposes trade from Israeli settlements.

Now the actress has spoken out in support of SodaStream, highlighting their environmental credentials and assiduously steering clear of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

“I’m not an expert on the history of this conflict, and I’ve never professed to be. 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.”

Johansson has been quietly but firmly reiterating this stance since the controversy first erupted in January, but this is her most lengthy statement yet. In the lead-up to her appearance in SodaStream’s Super Bowl commercial, she told the Huffington Post that the company was “building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine.” And in an interview with Dazed Magazine in February, she alluded to her discomfort with her default position a “role model,” saying she “never wanted to step into those shoes.”

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