Daily Mail

Daily Mail distorts Scarlett Johansson quote to impute greed to SodaStream role

We typically don’t spend too much time monitoring the Daily Mail, but the tabloid had a story about the Scarlett Johansson/SodaStream row which is worth a quick look.  

As you may recall, Johansson recently stepped down as Oxfam ambassador after the group – which has come under fire for demonizing Israel and placing ‘a clearly political agenda above any humanitarian concern’ – criticized her decision to become global ambassador for the Israeli-based company SodaStream.

Here’s the headline and strap lines in their Feb. 1 story:


The claim that she “hankers after wealth” (a word referring to ‘the strong, relentless desire for something;) is repeated in the text of the story:

When Scarlett Johansson chose her lucrative SodaStream contract over her charity work with Oxfam, it appeared to be an unusual choice.

The 29-year-old issued a strong public statement backing the controversial company which operates in the West Bank, despite Oxfam’s claim that the firm profits from illegal trade that harms Palestinians.

But The Mail on Sunday has learned the clues to her outspoken position may lie in her family’s struggle with money.

The blonde star of The Girl With The Pearl Earring and The Island admits she hankers after wealth and squanders money.

So, did she say that she hankers after money? Well, here are the only quotes they use to support this curious characterization:

‘It’s nice to have money. I didn’t grow up with it so it’s nice to have it,’ she told The Mail on Sunday. 

‘I’m not at all frugal and I don’t save – to my business manager’s dismay. I like to be generous. I can’t stand people who are tight with their money, it drives me crazy.

‘It’s different if you’re scrimping and saving because you need to, to save up for something. But I cannot stand cheapness.’

Far from “hankering” for wealth, the quotes released by the Daily Mail appear to suggest something closer to the opposite – that the Jewish actress is generous, and not too concerned with accumulating money.

The Daily Mail’s narrative on the alleged monetary reasons for Johansson’s decision is of course further undermined by the series of events leading to her resignation.  She only stepped down as ambassador to Oxfam after the group condemned her association with SodaStream.  Based on most reports, it seems that she would have preferred to remain affiliated with the NGO, but simply refused to be bullied by BDS activists into ending her position with SodaStream.

Either way, it appears as if Daily Mail editors – in their decision to frame the story as one of greed – failed in their professional responsibilities “not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”.

21 replies »

  1. Daily Mail implies actress worth £ 55 million “hankers after wealth”. What is the world coming to ?

    • “What is the world coming to? You mean other than an old empire going down the tubes kicking and screaming, and selling itself out to the highest bidder while its media pushes the last “acceptable” form of racism in the pursuit of wealth?

    • Most people know that the Daily Heil is a nasty little hate rag that hasn’t veered far from its ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ days.

      Obviously it’s right up your street though.

  2. Well argued piece Adam. And what an irony, that SodaStream has benefitted from the exposure. That can only be good for Arab and Jewish relations from a company that leads by example. As for Oxfam – what a shambles!

    • Joshua,

      Not sure that Soda stream or any Israeli company that operates outside the green line has benefitted.

      It appears Yair Lapid thinks otherwise.

  3. I repeat what I said about the ‘D.M.’ late last year: Some may dismiss it (partially correctly) merely as a newssheet by office boys for office boys but despite all the protests by its Jewish members of staff it is now returning to its old Northcliffiean ‘hurrah for the Blackshirts’ roots as insidiously antisemitic. Story after storyin recent months attests to this and stalwart senior staff men like Alex Brummer and Geoffrey Levy should not pretend otherwise.

    • Most studies I’ve seen show Jews as among the most, if not the most, generous group in contributing to charities. Some of the accusations that Jews are “cheapskates” might be a form of projection from the truly miserly. Ask waiters who the best tippers are and they’ll often mention Jewish people, among others.

  4. Having mentioned apropos of nothing Johansson’s mother is Ashkenazi Jewish, look at the kind of comment the DM allows through:

    mark, york, 3 hours ago

    Whats that phrase that springs to mind? Grabbing coins like a …..

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2550163/Scarlett-Johansson-Its-nice-cash-did-stars-poverty-child-make-choose-Israeli-soda-fortune-Oxfam.html#ixzz2sCmSLHOZ
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    The proverb to which Mark of York refers is ‘Grabbing coins like a J—‘.


  5. Still banging on about Johanssen and BDS? Keep it up. Even Kerry referred to boycotts. You’re sending this meme mainstream. The more you and I can piss off Netanyahu the better. Thanks!

  6. “But The Mail on Sunday has learned the clues to her outspoken position may lie in her family’s struggle with money.”
    “Her Danish father Karsten, a struggling architect, and her mother Melanie, an Ashkenazi Jew, struggled to pay rent as they raised Scarlett, her twin brother Hunter and siblings Vanessa and Adrian.”
    Oh yes, search for the greedy Jew and smear her/him.

    • “We moved house every year ” I don’t believe I’ve ever heard an American use this phrase before.
      “We went to state school and depended on programmes (known here as ‘programs’) for school lunches and transport.”
      So did I. So do most Americans. Most American children go to state schools. But we call them ‘public schools.’ You get on the school bus and go there. At lunch time you get a school lunch. After school you get back on the bus to go home. I always thought it was a respectable middle class thing. Didn’t know I had it so bad. Were my parents lying to me? Excuse me, I have to go now and ‘hanker’ after some wealth. ;-D

    • I don’t get it Alex. Your point is that a US daily has noted that there is a controversy? And this indicates that a UK daily’s foul-smelling, sensationalist distortion of the truth is meaningless?

      What is the link between the two?

      I might repeat that question to the Daily Fail. Did Johansson mention her humble background/”nice to have money” in an interview about SodaStream, or separately in a general “how do you like the trappings of fame, Scarlett” interview? If the latter, as I strongly suspect, then what is the link between her liking having money with the SodaStream/Oxfam issue?

  7. A query. According to the article, Johansson is “ranked 12th on the Forbes List of the top-earning superstars”, she “commands huge fees for her film appearances, including a reputed £13 million for Avengers 2”, and has “amassed a stable of sponsors, with top-brand firms paying her £3 million a year for acting as an ambassador for their goods.”

    Not short of a bob or two, then.

    In this context, are we expected to believe that she threw away her anti-famine principles, demonstrated (and gratefully acknowledged by Oxfam) during her 8-year ambassadorship, for a measly £243,000?