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Thread: Scarlett Johansson Talks Woody Allen and SodaStream controversy

  1. #1
    mjw
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    Default Scarlett Johansson Talks Woody Allen and SodaStream controversy

    The entire interview is at the link. I just posted the parts about Woody and SodaStream.


    Her breakout role was playing a version of this in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation where Bill Murray's washed-up actor character cashes in on his celebrity by making cheesy commercials and bonds with Johansson's ingenue; and she's played similar roles in Girl With a Pearl Earring, and notably, three different Woody Allen movies, Match Point, Scoop andVicky Cristina Barcelona. Allen has gone on record about Johansson's abilities as an actress: how she is "sexually overwhelming"; how she has a "zaftig humidity"; and how he believed that she has the "acting ability to be not just a passing pinup girl but a genuinely meaningful actress". And Johansson has responded in kind by saying that she would be prepared to "sew the hems of his pants if he asked me to".


    But last month Dylan Farrow, Allen's estranged daughter, published an open letter in which she accused him of abusing her and condemned the film industry's silence on the matter. In it, she pointed a finger at actors who have worked with Allen, including Johansson. It must have been a very uncomfortable experience being named in the letter, I say. How did you respond to it? "I think it's irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me."


    And what has she made about the backlash against Allen? "I'm unaware that there's been a backlash. I think he'll continue to know what he knows about the situation, and I'm sure the other people involved have their own experience with it. It's not like this is somebody that's been prosecuted and found guilty of something, and you can then go, 'I don't support this lifestyle or whatever.' I mean, it's all guesswork."


    So, has it had an impact on her relationship or affection for him? "I don't know anything about it. It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other. "


    She's flustered, and since I've been given the wind-up signal by the publicist, I move on to an even more difficult subject. SodaStream. When I Google "Scarlett Johansson" the fizzy-drinks maker is the third predictive search suggestion in the list, after "Scarlett Johansson hot" – before even "Scarlett Johansson bum". A month ago, Johansson found herself caught up in a raging news story when it emerged Oxfam had written to her regarding her decision to become a brand ambassador for SodaStream. The company, it transpired, manufactures its products in a factory in a settlement on the West Bank, and while "Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors," it wrote, it also "believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support".


    Johansson responded by stepping down from her Oxfam role. From afar, it looked liked she'd received very poor advice; that someone who is paid good money to protect her interests hadn't done the necessary research before she'd accepted the role and that she'd unwittingly inserted herself into the world's most intractable geopolitical conflict. By the time Oxfam raised the issue, she was going to get flak if she did step down, flak if she didn't. Was the whole thing just a bit of a mistake?



    But she shakes her head. "No, I stand behind that decision. I was aware of that particular factory before I signed it." Really? "Yes, and… it still doesn't seem like a problem. Until someone has a solution to the closing of that factory to leaving all those people destitute, that doesn't seem like the solution to the problem."


    But the international community says that the settlements are illegal and shouldn't be there. "I think that's something that's very easily debatable. In that case, I was literally plunged into a conversation that's way grander and larger than this one particular issue. And there's no right side or wrong side leaning on this issue."


    Except, there's a lot of unanimity, actually, I say, about the settlements on the West Bank. "I think in the UK there is," she says. "That's one thing I've realised… I'm coming into this as someone who sees that factory as a model for some sort of movement forward in a seemingly impossible situation."


    Well, not just the UK. There's also the small matter of the UN security council, the UN general assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice… which all agree that they're in contravention of international law. Half of me admires Johansson for sticking to her guns – her mother is Jewish and she obviously has strong opinions about Israel and its policies. Half of me thinks she's hopelessly naive. Or, most likely, poorly advised. Of all the conflicts in all the world to plant yourself in the middle of…


    "When I say a mistake," I say, "I mean partly because people saw you making a choice between Oxfam – a charity that is out to alleviate global poverty – and accepting a lot of money to advertise a product for a commercial company. For a lot of people, that's like making a choice between charity – good – and lots of money – greed."


    "Sure I think that's the way you can look at it. But I also think for a non-governmental organisation to be supporting something that's supporting a political cause… there's something that feels not right about that to me. There's plenty of evidence that Oxfam does support and has funded a BDS [boycott, divest, sanctions] movement in the past. It's something that can't really be denied." When I contacted Oxfam, it denied this.




    Scarlett Johansson interview: 'I would way rather not have middle ground' | Film | The Observer

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    eh, whatever. she was definitely poorly advised from the start or the whole oxfam-soda stream crap wouldn't have happened in the first place but after that happened, she chose to end her relationship with oxfam. it's her right. oxfam could have also chosen to do this privately instead of leaking the whole thing. not very classy of them to publicly corner her and force her to choose a side.

    as for whether or not you boycott a company, last time i checked that was a choice. i don't like the settlements either but i'm not one to boycott anything really. and fuck if i'm gonna give up our soda stream LOL.
    if oxfam didn't want to have a spokesperson who wouldn't boycott israeli companies or stuff made in settlements, they should have stipulated all of that before signing her on and actually hired an actor/actress who cared about the issues. scarjo's never struck me as particularly bright or political so she was an odd choice to begin with.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    SodaStream Boycott: At West Bank Factory, Palestinian Workers Reveal What They Think About Their Employer

    By Kate Shuttleworth
    on February 03 2014 12:22 PM






    A worker at SodaStream's Mishor Adumim factory. Kate Shuttleworth


    MISHOR ADUMIM, West Bank -- The large, nondescript factory painted in blue and pink with splashes of orange, nestled in the Judean Hills, is a world away from flashy Super Bowl commercials and Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. But this past week, SodaStream's production plant in the Israeli-occupied West Bank -- and its Palestinian workers -- have been thrust dramatically into the media spotlight, igniting an international controversy.

    An Israeli company listed on Wall Street, and the world’s biggest maker of home-carbonation machines, SodaStream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) has 22 manufacturing facilities around the world, including this one. For 17 years, its factory in Mishor Adumim, part of the largest Jewish settlement in the area near East Jerusalem, has slipped under the radar with little attention.
    But SodaStream has become the target of activists affiliated with the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a long-running campaign to isolate Israel’s economy until it withdraws from the occupied West Bank. The controversy caused a rift between Johansson, who signed a sponsorship deal with SodaStream, and British charity Oxfam, which opposes trade involving Israeli settlements, eventually leading the actress to quit her role as a spokeswoman at Oxfam after eight years. She starred in a commercial for SodaStream that aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday.
    Johansson, who has a Jewish mother, has not visited the factory in Mishor Adumim, nor been to the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She offered a different view of the factory, saying it employed both Palestinian and Israeli workers on equal pay, and described it as a rare opportunity to build “a bridge to peace” between the two. Of the 1,300 people employed at the Mishor Adumim factory, 500 are Palestinian from the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, 450 are Arab citizens of Israel and 350 are Jewish Israeli.
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    Meanwhile, Palestinians who work at the factory tell the International Business Times that they are just trying to make a living.
    Yasmin Abu Markhia, 22, is proudly Palestinian. When asked about her nationality, she lifted her sleeve to show a Palestinian-flag bracelet.
    Abu Markhia checks and stacks the carbon dioxide canisters that go inside SodaStream machines. She has worked at the factory for just four months. Considering she's a Palestinian living in Jerusalem but working in the occupied West Bank, the political storm is far from her mind. She said she sees no conflict in working at SodaStream: “We are human, we earn good money and the work is good.”
    Yasmin Abu Markhia, a Palestinian worker at SodaStream in the occupied West Bank, proudly shows her Palestinian bracelet. Kate Shuttleworth
    Zafid Abu Aballah, 28, is an Israeli Arab who has been a machine operator at the factory for four years. He earns $2,000 a month, significantly more than the Palestinian Authority minimum wage of 1,450 Israeli shekels ($377).
    “I have an Israeli passport. If the firm closed I could find another job, but Palestinians would not be able to. There are no jobs for Palestinians in the West Bank,” he said. “This is political, but the people here just want to work and live, they don’t have an interest in the politics between Palestine and Israel.”
    Palestinian Nabil Basharat, 40, from a village near Ramallah, has worked for SodaStream for four years and is now a shift manager. He supports his wife and six children on an income he says is high by both Palestinian and Israeli standards. About the boycott, he said it came down to protecting the workers’ ability to earn a fair wage:
    “We understand their [BDS and Oxfam’s] opinion, but they need to understand what the factory gives the Palestinian workers, and there are a lot of factories in this area doing the same thing.”
    Similarly Palestinian Asharaf Aballi, 28, from Jenin, said he supported his parents, his wife and another eight family members on his income of $2,000: “First off we need a job and an income to live -- I have a family and I need money.”
    An unemployed youth near Qalandiya checkpoint, who gave his name as Yasser, said the minimum wage in the Palestinian Authority made it nearly impossible to live. “We need more factories like SodaStream. It’s hard to get a job there,” he said.
    SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told IBTimes on Monday that he is “fed up” with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that businesspeople should take the opportunity to contribute to peace. He also said he didn’t agree with settlements and believes that they shouldn’t be built, despite the fact that his factory sits in the center of one. His company can in fact be “a model for peace.” “We are showing Israelis and Palestinians that there can be peace,” Birnbaum said.
    Birnbaum does not think he’s lost any customers because of boycott action. “If eventually there was a boycott, I don’t really care that much from a SodaStream standpoint, we’d just shift production to a different factory.”
    Sodastream says it has manufacturing facilities in Israel, Germany, Sweden, the U.S., Australia, China and South Africa, besides the one in the West Bank. “Markets like Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway only receive products from outside this factory, from the mother of human rights -- China,” Birnbaum said sarcastically. Norway, Sweden and Finland have boycotted SodaStream products from the Mishor Adumim factory.
    SodaStream has made a profit over the last two years and says it’s on track to show a 30 percent increase in profit over its June 2012 result, but it’s facing a rough start this year. Its shares on the Nasdaq have tumbled 26 percent in January and the company has issued a profit warning for the fourth quarter of 2013, with a net income of $41.5 million, citing “several factors,” which didn't include the international boycott.
    SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum at the Mishor Adumim factory. Kate Shuttleworth
    As for the Johansson flap, “I frankly didn’t expect it to be as big a deal as it ended up being. I didn’t expect Oxfam to be so superficial in its treatment of this,” Birnbaum said.
    Alun McDonald, an Oxfam spokesman in Israel and the Occupied West Bank said that the charity does not oppose Israeli-owned factories in the West Bank -- once a peace agreement had been reached.
    “The problem at the moment is it’s in an illegal settlement on occupied land. If it’s an Israeli factory in a future Palestinian state, paying tax in Palestine and genuinely benefiting the economy, then it could be a good thing. Our opposition is not that it’s an Israeli company -- our position is the same for any company from any country working in settlements,” McDonald said.
    “We believe Israeli settlements in the West Bank, are an obstacle to the chance of achieving a two-state solution and lasting peace and that presence and expansion of settlements is one of the main drivers of poverty in the Palestinian communities we work in,” he added. “Any company located in settlements contributes to their viability and legitimizes them, no matter what their labor practices.”
    Sodastream was able to set up a factory in Mishor Adumim because it’s in Area C, the zone of Israeli-controlled land that makes up 61 per cent of the West Bank, per the Oslo Accords. Palestinians are prohibited from building on the majority of Area C. A World Bank report last year estimated that the Palestinian economy could be boosted by 35 percent if development of Area C were allowed.
    For now, the SodaStream bottles and carbonation machines made here reflect the uncertain status of this occupied land, neither part of Israel proper nor of a still-to-come Palestinian state. Their labels don’t say “made in Palestine” on the label, nor do they mention the West Bank. “There is no nationality for customs purposes called Palestine, or the West Bank,” Birnbaum said. On the labels, depending on the destination market, SodaStream products “say either nothing, or made in Israel. … But they will always have the correct zip code. We’re not hiding what we’re doing.”




    SodaStream Boycott: At West Bank Factory, Palestinian Workers Reveal What They Think About Their Employer

    I'll be damned if I'm giving up my SodaStream either. I like using frozen juice concentrate, Ribena or fruit syrups with it.
    "But I am very poorly today & very stupid & I hate everybody & everything." -- Charles Darwin

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Sodastream says it has manufacturing facilities in Israel, Germany, Sweden, the U.S., Australia, China and South Africa, besides the one in the West Bank. “Markets like Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway only receive products from outside this factory, from the mother of human rights -- China,” Birnbaum said sarcastically. Norway, Sweden and Finland have boycotted SodaStream products from the Mishor Adumim factory.
    i mean, you have to admit he has a point. which is why i find most calls for boycott to be silly, short-sighted and knee-jerkish. yeah, you don't buy from a factory in the settlements but china's fine?
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    The large, nondescript factory painted in blue and pink with splashes of orange
    What's this now?
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member SoCalMarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    Zafid Abu Aballah, 28, is an Israeli Arab who has been a machine operator at the factory for four years. He earns $2,000 a month, significantly more than the Palestinian Authority minimum wage of 1,450 Israeli shekels ($377).
    I was pretty surprised to read that.
    That's more than the minimum wage here in California ($10.00 hr min. wage x 40 hr work week x 4 weeks = $1,600.00 per month, before taxes).

    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    An unemployed youth near Qalandiya checkpoint, who gave his name as Yasser, said the minimum wage in the Palestinian Authority made it nearly impossible to live. “We need more factories like SodaStream. It’s hard to get a job there,” he said.
    I feel the same way about the U.S.
    Katy, urine danger, gurl! - BITTER

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    But last month Dylan Farrow, Allen's estranged daughter, published an open letter in which she accused him of abusing her and condemned the film industry's silence on the matter. In it, she pointed a finger at actors who have worked with Allen, including Johansson. It must have been a very uncomfortable experience being named in the letter, I say. How did you respond to it? "I think it's irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me."
    So, she is upset that she got a bunch of Google alerts on articles about the Woody Allen abuse allegations, of which she knows nothing? Does she only want to be mentioned in articles about subjects, she has actual knowledge on? That seems a bit spoiled.

    I'm sure, Dylan mentioned Scarlett and other actors, because she wanted Hollywood to take a stand against WA. Scalett is in her good right to not want to take a stand, but she can hardly control when and where she is talked about.

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