Oxfam, Johansson part ways

Oxfam accepted actress Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as its global ambassador, calling the role “incompatible” with her work for the Israeli company SodaStream.

“Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a global ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions,” the global anti-poverty charity said in a statement issued Jan. 30. “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.”

Johansson announced Jan. 29 that she was ending her relationship with Oxfam following criticism from the charity of her work as a spokeswoman for the producer of home soda-making machines, which operates a factory in the West Bank.

Johansson in her statement said she and the humanitarian organization have “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

SodaStream signed Johansson to be its first global brand ambassador, and she appeared in a television ad for the company during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The company employs Israeli and Palestinian workers at its factory in the settlement of Maale Adumim, just outside Jerusalem.

Pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress. On Jan. 25, representatives of 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 at Oxfam America’s Boston headquarters and urged the nonprofit to drop Johansson, who is Jewish, over her defense of SodaStream’s presence in the West Bank. — jta & jns