As the worm turns
This article was written by MJ on 1st June 2002
Anita Roddick, the media-savvy former CEO of the Body Shop, has been fighting a strange battle this last week against an internet search engine over John Malkovich.
Got that? The long version: Last week, Roddick called the Hollywood actor a “vomitous worm” after Malkovich, responding to a question at the Cambridge Union, said he’d “like to shoot” English journalist Robert Fisk and Scottish MP George Galloway. (Fisk, foreign correspondent for The Indepedent, has long been critical of the Israeli occupation and American policy in the Middle East; I’m not sure of Galloway’s particular sin against Malkovich’s sensibilities.)
Shortly thereafter, Google pulled Roddick’s ads for her website which, ironically, were slugged: “Anita Roddick: Uncensored.” According to Roddick’s webmaster, Google said their policy “does not permit the advertisement of ‘Sites that advocate against groups or individuals (even John Malkovich)’ on our website. We also do not permit sites that sell these products to advertise on Google. As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the advertising we accept on our site.”
Coming so soon after Google, for a time, removed links to anti-Scientology sites after being leaned on by the LA-based, uh, “new religious movement,” Roddick and co quickly whipped up the thing into a cause celebre.
How interesting then that when she’s storming the online barricades for freedom of speech, she’s dismissing as a baseless smear an exposé of The Body Shop in this month’s R.O.B. Magazine, published by The Globe.