Kelly Clarkson ‘used as some kind of political pawn’

2010-04-22 08:11

US singer Kelly Clarkson said she was not aware her Indonesian

concert was sponsored by a tobacco company and refused to cancel the show

despite appeals from anti-smoking groups.

In a statement on her blog headlined “Jakarta mishap”, the former

American Idol winner said she was being “used as some kind of political pawn”

and rejected criticism she was promoting smoking to her young fans.

“So... my morning began with finding out that I am all over

billboards, TV ads and other media formats alongside a tobacco company who

unbeknownst to me is sponsoring my Jakarta date on my current tour,” she

wrote.

“I was not made aware of this and am in no way an advocate or an

ambassador for youth smoking. I’m not even a smoker, nor have I ever

been.”

She said her “only option” was to cancel the show, but she could

not justify “penalising my fans for someone else’s oversight”.

“This is a lose-lose situation for me and I am not happy about it

but the damage has been done and I refuse to cancel on my fans,” she said.

“I think the hardest part of situations like this is getting

personally attacked for something I was completely unaware of and being used as

some kind of political pawn.”

The pop singer, whose face has appeared on billboards and

television ads beneath a prominent logo for a local cigarette brand, will

perform in the Indonesian capital on April 29.

The sponsorship has been condemned by the Indonesian National

Commission on Child Protection, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, the

US-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and an Indonesian Muslim

organisation.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, Indonesia

is a booming market for tobacco companies. Cigarette consumption in the

Southeast Asian archipelago of 234 million people soared 47 percent in the

1990s.

Almost 70 percent of men over 20 years of age smoke and regular

smoking among boys aged 15 to 19 increased from 36.8 percent in 1997 to

42.6 percent in 2000.

A survey of American advertising executives found that nearly 80

percent believed cigarette advertising made smoking more attractive or socially

acceptable to children, according to the WHO.


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