Where there's smoking, there's ire. Unfortunately, Kelly Clarkson's just landed in the crosshairs.
The original American Idol winner created quite a stir when billboards and TV ads popped up in Jakarta promoting her concert—and its sponsor, Indonesian cigarette company L.A. Lights. As with Alicia Keys before her, antismoking activists immediately challenged Clarkson to cancel the show or risk sending a bad message to her young fans.
Alas, Miss Independent claims she knew nothing of the matter.
"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 writes on her blog. "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."
That said, she has no intention of canceling her April 29 performance.
"I can't justify penalizing my fans for someone else's oversight," she explains. "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.
"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," she concludes. (Guess she doesn't pay attention to the fine print when she signs those big-bucks concert contracts.)
But the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids isn't buying Clarkson's "for the fans" spin.
She "has let down her fans and chosen to be a spokesperson for the tobacco industry" by going on with the show, says CTFK spokeswoman Marina Carter. "In doing so, Ms. Clarkson is allowing her name, image and talent to be used to promote cigarettes to Indonesian youth.
We again call on Ms. Clarkson to withdraw tobacco industry sponsorship of her concert and to demand the removal of any tobacco-branded advertising and promotions associated with it."
Your move, Kelly.
(Originally published April 21, 2010, at 12:28 p.m. PT)
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