Scarlett Johansson’s recent success in movies such as “The Avengers” and the 2014 Academy Award nominee for best picture, “Her,” has made Johansson a household name. Off the screen, Johansson has made the most of her celebrity status by influencing political leaders and everyday citizens to stand up and fight the ongoing war on poverty.
Recently though, Johansson parted ways with Oxfam, a global organization who assists impoverished nations with finding innovative ways to pull their people out of poverty. Serving as the Oxfam Ambassador since 2007, Johansson has provided much support for the organization by increasing awareness, participating in fundraising, promoting advocacy and profile-raising activities.
While this breakup is unfortunate for the parties involved, what remains a positive aspect in the situation is the good that Oxfam and Johansson have mutually accomplished over the past 8 years where she served as their Global Ambassador. Johansson’s motivation to get involved with humanitarian efforts spawned after she made a life-changing trip to India and Sri Lanka. There she met tsunami survivors and witnessed several Oxfam-funded projects whose purpose was to rebuild ravaged communities in the area.
Over the years, Johansson joined forces with a plethora of different movements such as the “We Can” campaign that aimed at shifting attitudes which support violence against women in India and Sri Lanka. Johansson was also involved in Oxfam’s GROW campaign which advocated reforming bad policies and increasing ways to make food sustainability more efficient.
“Sharing food is one of life’s pleasures. On a global scale, we don’t share fairly. Close to a billion people go to bed hungry every night. The fact is: the global food system is a broken one. All of us, from Kentucky to Kenya, deserve enough to eat,” said Johansson.
Oxfam accepted Johansson’s resignation after much controversy was stirred from her participation in a SodaStream commercial which was set to air during the Super Bowl. Her affiliation with the Tel Aviv-based soda machine company which operates in the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim was criticized by several pro-Palestinian groups as well as Oxfam itself, who are opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements deeming them illegal under international law.
“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. Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”
Johansson stated that Oxfam and her had “a fundamental difference of opinions,” when it came to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the 29-year-old actress has parted ways with the organization, she reassured the public that she remains, “a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Regardless of the fallout, the one thing that can’t be denied is the effects Johansson’s efforts have had on many struggling communities. From providing funding for underprivileged students seeking education, to increasing US consumer interest, Johansson has made a significant difference when it comes to fighting global poverty.
– Jeffrey Scott Haley
Sources: Oxfam, LA Times, Oxfam
Photo: Business Insider