Actress Scarlett Johansson has spoken up for the first time about the controversy that began with her signing on as a spokeswoman for Israeli beverage firm SodaStream, saying she is not "a role model."
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“I don’t see myself as being a role model,” she said in an interview published Thursday in Dazed and Confused magazine, adding that she “did not want to step into those shoes.”
Johansson did not directly address the conflict over her job as spokeswoman for the SodaStream company, which has a factory in the West Bank and led to her resignation as a global ambassador for the humanitarian organization Oxfam.
“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?” she also said, adding, “You have to have peace of mind.”
SodaStream signed Johansson in December to be its first global brand ambassador. The company, which manufactures home soda makers, employs Israeli and Palestinian workers at its West Bank factory in the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement.
Pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress before she resigned in late January. She said she had a "fundamental difference of opinion" with the aid group, which opposes trade with Israeli settlements.
“I don’t profess to know more or less than anybody else,” Johansson told the magazine. “If that’s a by-product of whatever image is projected on to me, I don’t feel responsible as an artist to give anyone that message. It’s not my jam.”
Johansson defended SodaStream and her involvement with the company in a statement released January 24 on The Huffington Post.