LONDON — Lush Cosmetics is getting political in more ways than one.
This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Tobias Ellwood, a Member of Parliament and shadow minister, meaning from the opposition party, for tourism, licensing and gambling here, has offered to help the British cosmetics firm with its campaign to close Guantanamo Bay.
Ellwood had initially criticized a weeklong campaign kicked off by Lush on March 3 meant to raise awareness of detainees held at the military prison in Cuba. The operation included the sale of a fizzing bath product, or “ballistic,” dubbed Guantanamo Garden. When immersed in water, each product releases a photograph of Sami Al Haj or Binyam Mohamed, who are prisoners at Guantanamo, and information on how to learn more about the human rights charity Reprieve.
As part of the campaign, some Lush store staff also wore orange underwear emblazoned with the slogan “Fair trial my arse.”
In the British press this week, Ellwood was cited as calling Lush’s campaign tasteless. However, he has since had a change of heart.
“I have now had an opportunity to speak with the company, which has an impressive track record in supporting green issues and campaigning against animal testing,” Ellwood said on Wednesday, when contacted by WWD. His brother was killed in a terrorist attack in Bali. “This is, however, its first campaign dealing with international terrorism, and I believe it was poorly advised. If Lush is serious about raising awareness of Guantanamo Bay, which it seems to be, then I have offered to help them in order to devise a more appropriate strategy.” He did not elaborate.
“Lush has taken up the fight for justice for the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay,” stated Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s legal director. “If the Guantanamo prisoners were given fair trials, there would be no need for their pictures to appear in Lush bath ballistics.”
Andrew Butler, Lush campaign manager, stated, “By standing up for the rights of prisoners in Guantanamo, we are standing up for the rights of everyone.”