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Ahava drops spokesperson amid public relations fiasco

For Immediate Release:

4 September 2009

A first victory for CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign

The Israeli cosmetics company, Ahava, which illegally manufactures and appropriates its products in occupied Palestinian territory, has dropped its spokesperson Kristin Davis amid a public relations debacle sparked by the peace group CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty campaign.

As Gawker.com (http://gawker.com/5351985/cosmetics-company-uses-kristin-davis-and-then-kicks-her-out) first reported yesterday, ‘Sex & the City’ star Kristin Davis has been dropped by Ahava. All trace of her image and mention of her name have already been removed from Ahava’s website.

Davis’ dismissal, and the accompanying blow to Ahava’s image, follow the successful launch of CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty campaign designed to spread word of Ahava’s illegal practices — its products are falsely labeled as “Made in Israel” but in actuality are made in an illegal settlement in occupied Palestinian territory, and often contain resources appropriated from occupied land, in clear violation of international law.

For the past two months CODEPINK activists have been appearing at Ahava stores, trade booths, and online, spreading word of Ahava’s illegal business practices (view photos and publicity at www.stolenbeauty.org). Particularly newsworthy was Davis’ dual role as Ahava spokesperson and as a goodwill ambassador for the international charity Oxfam—a group that has courageously spoken out against the illegal Israeli settlement trade. First, CODEPINK activists reached out to Davis (http://www.opposingviews.com/articles/opinion-code-pink-snubbed-by-sex-and-the-city-star-kristin-davis-r-1244746975) to dissuade her from continuing her paid promotional appearances for Ahava. When that failed, public pressure forced Oxfam to suspend Davis from publicity work for the charity. The glare of publicity, including a story on Page 6 of the New York Post (http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062009/gossip/pagesix/sex_star__oxfam_part_ways_183164.htm), surrounding that controversy appears now to have helped make untenable Ahava’s P.R. campaign centered on Davis.

While Davis’ apparent hypocrisy served as a convenient initial lightning rod for mobilizing the Stolen Beauty campaign, and has helped generate enormous press coverage of Ahava’s crimes, the campaign has yet to begin to reach its full force. In a few weeks, another wave of activity (and a whole new pressure point for Ahava) will be unveiled. In the meantime, though, CODEPINK activists celebrate this first small victory, and the enormous increase in consumer awareness it has focused on Ahava’s illegal practices.