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Controversy!NFLSports & Business

Scarlett Johansson Speaks Out On Super Bowl Ad Controversy: ‘I Don’t See Myself As A Role Model’


It’s official: Scarlett Johansson has chosen corporate bucks over charity work, which is the American way, I guess. It’s just that I expected more from one of The Avengers.

The Black Widow, er, Johansson, has severed ties with Oxfam, a humanitarian group for which she had signed on as an ambassador, in a squabble over her SodaStream endorsements. SodaStream is the fizzy drink manufacturer that’s based in the occupied West Bank, which is now part of Israel but was Palestinian land until 1967.

Johansson is also a “Global Ambassador” for SodaStream, and made a notable commercial for the company which aired during the Super Bowl. Oxfam was not amused, and since it’s boycottong Israeli trade from the West Bank, Johansson had to choose: Palestinians, or soda cash? Obviously it wasn’t a difficult decision.

The Israeli company runs three factories in the occupied West Bank, and many say the company is taking advantage of the Palestinian residents who have few other employment options.

Johansson offered a rather weak defense of her SodaStream Love just after the Super Bowl, but now has spoken out again in the new issue of Dazed Magazine. She didn’t directly address her differences with Oxfam, but pretty much spelled out why she’s sticking with SodaStream.

She even offered up a slight variation on the Charles Barkley “I am not a role model” line.

“I don’t see myself as being a role model; I never wanted to step into those shoes,” Johansson said.

“How could I wake up every day and be a normal person if I was completely aware that my image was being manipulated on a global platform. How could I sleep?

“You have to have peace of mind. You’ve got to be able to protect those things. How else could you exist? You’d go crazy, anybody would go crazy.”

Johansson supporters say that SodaStream is giving decent-paying jobs to Palestinians, who work alongside Israelis in the factories, so what’s the problem? By our view an occupation is still an occupation, whether it’s by the point of a gun or by mollifying the occupied, who have no other real employment options.

Today such groups as Jewish Voice for Peace, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, American Jews for a Just Peace and the First Church in Cambridge Israel/Palestine Task Team met with Oxfam and urged the organization to drop Johansson, who is Jewish.

And now, from the Dept. of Irony: SodaStream’s tagline is “Set my bubbles free.”

Johansson, in the behind-the-scenes version of the Super Bowl commercial:

“My favorite thing about SodaStream is that I don’t feel guilty when I enjoy beverages at home. I don’t feel I’m being wasteful.”

Our verdict? She’s not worthy of The Avengers. Replace with Scarlet Witch.


  • Lew

    So… shut down the plants and leave the affected Palestinians unemployed? Good idea, Rick! You should pitch that at the next Peace Summit. You’re obviously a scholar on the issue.

  • Chris Ar

    The area called the West Bank was never Palestinian. It was part of Jordan, forcibly taken after Israel fought back THREE unprovoked invasions, dating from 1948.

    This is no place for anti-Semitic articles like this. Rick Chandler needs to apologize.

  • Ted Tidwell

    What about this is sports related…other than its an Israieli company that bought a commercial during the Superbowl? Don’t really come to the sportsgrid for my foreign policy roundtable dude.

  • msf

    Geez…am I going to have to give up Sportsgrid forever and stick to Deadspin? I don’t have a problem with disagreeing with you these types of issues. However, the increasing politicization of this site is driving me away. I come here for sports stories. Lately, it feels like nearly every other article has to have the author’s politics thrown into it. Keep your opinions to yourself or go write for Mediaite. Damn.

  • Jerry Baustian

    OxFam is pretending to be anti-Zionist when in fact it is anti-Semitic. So Scarlett made the right decision to disassociate herself from OxFam, and instead sided with SodaStream and its hundreds of Palestinian employees in the West Bank.

  • Alan

    Mr. Chandler,
    Perhaps if you actually wrote about sports you might get something right?
    I’ve never read a more “twisted” article than this – what a shame you tricked Sports Grid to even carry this ridiculous ranting of yours!

  • Middleman

    Chris Ar is right. In 1948 the West Bank was invaded and occupied by Jordan, which held it until the Israelis drove them out in the 1967 War. Since then the West Bank has not been “part of Israel.” Israel has kept troops there against its will to protect against terrorist attacks, which continue to this day. The land was never a separate Arab state. Arabs, Jews, Christians, and others have lived there for thousands of years.


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