Update: Oxfam Great Britain’s CEO, Mark Goldring, responding to inquiries about the NGO’s relationship with SodaStream’s new ‘global ambassador’ Scarlett Johansson, has stated in an email:
“Oxfam is opposed to trade from Israeli settlements, in which Sodastream is engaged. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and have a devastating effect on the lives and livelihoods of the Palestinian communities that Oxfam works with. Trade with businesses operating in settlements exacerbates the ongoing poverty and denial of Palestinians’ rights that Oxfam addresses in its work.
“We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues. “
SodaStream is suddenly facing widespread criticism in the media for making its seltzer devices in the occupied West Bank. The day after we published Rachele Richards jaw-dropping graphic of Scarlett Johansson drenched in red with sparkling bubbles in the background New York Magazine published Kat Stoeffel’s brand-slaying piece, “SodaStream: Guilt-Free Seltzer or Blood Bubbles?”
Did someone say “blood bubbles” at a cocktail party in NYC? Those East Coast lefties are harsh! Stoeffel:
I was in the kitchen, overseeing eggnog, and I handed my co-host a bottle of seltzer made for the occasion with my SodaStream countertop carbonator. He’s the one who told me what happened next.
“Enjoy your Palestinian blood cocktails,” the left-wing reporter said to the vodka drinkers.
Since Stoeffel’s piece, and the crucial highbrow gossip, the media (TopNewsToday) is beginning to sit up straight over the SodaStream controversy. And while SodaStream won’t address any possible connection between its plunging stock and the boycott of settlement goods, financial writers are scrutinizing the stock left and right. Wall Street Cheat Street issued a cautionary warning: SodaStream Bubbles Are More Controversial Than They Appear, and CNN Money asks Boycotting SodaStream: Righteous protest or empty gesture?
FORTUNE — Boycotting businesses for political reasons is often a complicated affair. There are always trade-offs. Take SodaStream (SODA), for example. The company’s home-carbonation gizmos reduce pollution and enable people to avoid buying bottles and cans of unhealthy soda from giant corporations like Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP).
For those reasons, SodaStream is especially popular among socially conscious types. But now many of those people are learning that the product’s maker isn’t some little hippie-run outfit based in Taos, N.M., or Burlington, Vt., but is in fact an Israeli firm that has a manufacturing plant in the occupied West Bank, and so has been deemed a purveyor of “blood bubbles.”
Ynet’s Business and Finance section says SodaStream’s success has been “overshadowed by a political cloud, which is threatening” to both the company and their spokesperson, Johansson. It cites Stoeffel’s piece, and includes quotes from Henry Norr and Ali Gharib.
The UK’s Daily Mail is all over it with a fat headline:
Controversy fizzes up around SodaStream over their use of factories in the West Bank just as Scarlett Johansson signs on to be the company’s first global ambassador
And everybody’s favorite fishwrap, that bastion of integrity the NY Post, championed Johansson: “instead of answering BDS jeers, she simply said she loves the brand” (Free Beacon and Breitbart repeat the statement). Hmm, really? I thought she said that before the jeers started. Seriously, has anyone heard a peep out of Scarlett since this controversy erupted after the announcement of her global ambassadorship of SodaStream? Because last we heard, mum’s still the word from Scarlett.
Bottom line, despite efforts by Haaretz to characterize the SodaStream controversy as no big deal, this is not a non issue. Maybe the average Joe in Kansas has not heard of SodaStream or the boycott against it. But among the hipsters and the activist and the simply well-informed, everyone now knows SodaStream is controversial. Everyone.
And though the “blood bubbles” team has the bucks to hire film crews to promote lies about the occupation, boycotters have the web, pro bono graphic artists, and word of mouth. And every dollar spent on promoting SodaStream is now boosting the exposure of this apartheid product, making it an international target for raising awareness. Superbowl anyone? It’s game on.
BDS spokesperson via Al Arabia
“It was very surprising that Scarlett Johansson has decided to become the new face of Israeli apartheid, especially given that she is also an Oxfam ambassador,” said the BDS spokesperson.
“We’re sure she’ll soon realize that there’s nothing green about Israeli apartheid.”
While the commercial would give the company major exposure, the BDS movement said it “will be an opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on SodaStream’s active participation in Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this post we called Goldring the Oxfam CEO, and not ceo of Oxfam Great Britain.