Actress Scarlett Johansson, in her first published interview since she became the spokeswoman of Israeli company SodaStream, said this week that she doesn’t see herself as “a role model” and absolved herself from responsibility for “whatever image is projected on to me.”
Johansson made international headlines in January when she accepted the role of spokeswoman for SodaStream, a company that makes home carbonation machines and operates a plant in Ma’ale Adumim, a large West Bank settlement near Jerusalem.
In her remarks this week, which were published Thursday in the print-only magazine Dazed but covered widely on the Internet, the actress did not address the SodaStream issue directly but noted that “you have to have peace of mind” and said that without protecting oneself from public opinion, “you’d go crazy, anybody would go crazy.”
Johansson said that she doesn’t see herself “as being a role model” and added that she never “wanted to step into those shoes.”
SodaStream maintains that the West Bank plant contributes to Israeli-Palestinian coexistence and employs hundreds of Palestinians, but critics supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel slammed Johansson’s move, and she ended up resigning from her long-time spokeswoman’s position with anti-poverty group Oxfam as a result of the controversy.
“I don’t profess to know more or less than anybody else. 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,” the actress said.
Johansson asked how she could “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?”
In the interview, Johansson also complained about the modern prevalence of camera phones and social media combined with enthusiastic fans, and noted that she sometimes wanted to ask people if they were “raised in a barn” because of their “unbelievable” intrusive behavior toward her.