One of the UK’s leading cosmetic brands has come under fire after an employee put up a poster that read ‘Boycott Israel’ in the window of one of its stores.
The poster appeared in the Dublin branch of Lush Cosmetics following Hamas’ Saturday attacks on Israel, which has sparked a strong retaliation from Israel – and a photo has quickly circulated on social media, with more than 1.9million people seeing it.
The company, which has 951 stores in 52 countries and calls itself ‘the overly friendly cosmetics shop’ in its Twitter bio, is now facing a huge backlash, with some customers saying they’ll no longer shop there.
It is unclear who took the photograph showing the ‘Boycott Israel’ poster circled, which appeared on Twitter yesterday afternoon, but it’s believed to have been taken this weekend at the Henry Street store in the Republic of Ireland’s capital.
A photo circulating on social media shows the poster in Lush, which is famous for its fizzy bath bombs and brightly coloured soaps, on Henry Street in Dublin, which reads ‘Boycott Israel’
@benonwine posted the photograph, writing: ‘What the hell is this @Lushltd. This is disgusting can you please comment?’
A spokesman for Lush, which is based in Poole, Dorset and was founded by six entrepreneurs in 1995, told MailOnline today that it wished ‘peace and safety for all Israeli and Palestinian people’.
However, many have responded negatively to the poster, saying: ‘Simple! Not purchasing anything from them ever again. Another company going to the wall…’
Another added: ‘This is appalling especially for a store that’s not operating franchises, whatever your political views this sign should not be given the light of day in a shop window.’
Others, supporting Palestine in the conflict, posted comments agreeing with the sign.
The company clarified its stance on the Middle East conflict, saying it wanted ‘peace and safety for all Israeli and Palestinian people’
In a statement to MailOnline, Lush responded suggesting that the poster had been an isolated incident and clarified its stance, saying: ‘We are a diverse company with staff of all ethnicities and religions whose personal views and opinions may vary, however, the following is our Company position.
‘Lush deplores all violence and all injustice. Our wish is for peace and safety for all Israeli and Palestinian people. We support the upholding of international law and the human rights of all peoples.’
The death toll in the unfolding Middle Eastern conflict has risen to more than 1,200 in Israel and 900 in Gaza.
In June, the cosmetics chain was criticised over a campaign featuring an image of a craft similar to the ones used by cross-Channel people smugglers. Previous controversial campaigns have included supporting the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign in 2018
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Jonathan Conricus vowed on Wednesday to raze every building to the ground in Gaza in revenge for Hamas’ terror attacks at the weekend, saying it will become a ‘tent city’.
Cosmetics giant Lush is no stranger to controversy. In July, large bonuses were handed to its directors, including 71-year old CEO Mark Constantine who helped co-found the business in May 1995, and his wife Mo.
Awards were also dished out to six top bosses, despite the firm’s poor performance for the year ending June 30, 2022.
The windfalls also came despite Lush receiving £5.1million in government support, including a reduction in business rates and furlough for staff during the pandemic.
This summer, large bonuses were handed to the firms directors, including 71-year old chief executive Mark Constantine, pictured, despite Lush receiving £5.1million in government support, including a reduction in business rates and furlough for staff during the pandemic
In 2021, the cosmetics firm announced it would shut down its Instagram and TikTok accounts until the platforms ‘take action to provide safer environment for users’. It continues to have a YouTube and Twitter acccount. Pictured, stock image
The month before, the brand was accused of encouraging human traffickers after unveiling an ‘all refugees welcome’ poster featuring a small boat.
The poster, produced in partnership with Refugee Action, read ‘wherever you’re from, however you got here, all refugees are welcome’ – despite ministers making it illegal to come to Britain in a small boat to claim asylum.
All of the chain’s 103 UK stores promoted the poster campaign, which saw a limited edition bath bomb released with ‘welcome’ embossed on the side.
Proceeds went to Refugee Action, which has been battling the Government’s Rwanda policy and helped ground last June’s deportation flight.
Andrew Butler, Lush Campaigns Manager, said: ‘It is utterly shameful how certain politicians and pundits seek to scapegoat and blame people who are trying to escape war and conflict.
‘Rather than focusing on why they are leaving their homes they instead focus on the way they try to reach a place of safety.
‘The fact is, the only way refugees can claim asylum in the UK is if they first reach these shores, and the Government has closed off all safe routes to Britain for the vast majority of those seeking safety.’
In 2018, the store was forced to drop a campaign about the so-called ‘spy cops’ scandal after critics said it amounted to an attack on the police.
Lush was supporting the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign for women who were duped into relationships by undercover officers who infiltrated anti-capitalist and green protest groups over a 40-year period.
In the window displays of Lush’s 105 outlets, a split-face image of a police officer in uniform and undercover appeared under the headline ‘Paid to Lie’. Mock crime scene police tape also carried the phrase ‘Police have crossed the line’. Similar materials promoted the campaign on the Lush website.
Lush said at the time that it hoped to bring attention to the issue of women being tricked into sexual relationships by undercover officers. But the chain eventually took the posters down.
The company was founded in 1995 by the same six people that had previously been in business as now defunct mailorder business Cosmetics To Go: Rowena Bird, Helen Ambrosen, Mo Constantine, Mark Constantine, Liz Bennett and Paul Greeves.
In 2021, the cosmetics firm shut down some of its social media channels, saying it wanted to ‘take action to provide safer environment for users’.
The company has continued operating its Twitter and Youtube pages, but has no presence on TikTok or Instagram.
Lush previously attempted to shut down some of its social media channels in 2019 but found itself back ‘despite the best intentions’ due to its fear of missing out.