The contract between the Somalian-born businesswoman and model and the diamond retail venture between LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the De Beers Group expired last month and will not be renegotiated.
“We had a two-year contract, which was over in April, and the new advertising strategy for the company is not to use a celebrity,” a De Beers LV spokeswoman said Thursday. “Most companies don’t use the same celebrities for long periods of time.”
The relationship was filled with controversy from the start. Shortly before the first De Beers LV boutique opened on London’s Piccadilly in 2001, Survival International, a nongovernmental organization based in London, plastered an image of a Kalahari Bushwoman over Iman’s with the phrase: “The Bushmen Aren’t Forever.”
Survival claims diamond mining is related to the relocation of Bushmen in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve. De Beers Group and the De Beers LV joint venture have repeatedly denied the claims.
In a statement, Survival suggested Iman quit due to its campaign to make her end her association with the diamond firm.
“We are thrilled about this new development. We have been campaigning solidly around this issue for years, and are very pleased that Iman will no longer be representing De Beers,” said Stephen Corry, Survival’s director.
While Iman couldn’t be reached for comment, the De Beers LV spokeswoman said: “Survival has been saying over the past two years that Iman’s contract was in jeopardy. The truth is that the Bushmen issue has nothing whatsoever to do with diamonds or De Beers LV. And Iman investigated the company thoroughly before she ever agreed to be our style icon and was very comfortable with being associated with the company.”
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