Kelly Clarkson Under Fire After Appearing in Smoking Ads

Celebrity Body Apr. 21, 2010 AT 2:28PM
Kelly Clarkson Under Fire After Appearing in Smoking Ads Credit: Kevin Mazur/AMA2009/WireImage.com

Does Kelly Clarkson want her fans to light up?

Not at all -- but the singer's upcoming concert in Jakarta, Indonesia was originallly going to be sponsored and promoted by LA Lights cigarettes, and a local billboard for the show featured Clarkson beneath the tobacco brand's logo.

After anti-smoking advocates and Clarkson's fans put the heat on her to cancel the show, the tobacco company pulled its sponsorship. "There will be no [L.A. Lights] media promotion at the Kelly Clarkson concert," promoter Adrie Subono told the Associated Press late Wednesday.

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Before L.A. Lights' announcement, the inaugural American Idol refused to budge on the issue.  "If Kelly Clarkson goes ahead with this concert, she is choosing to be a spokesperson for the tobacco industry and helping them to market cigarettes to children," Matthew L. Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement.

The Grammy-winning singer's fans flooded her Facebook page with similar pleas. One young woman wrote, "you've been my idol since day 1 on American Idol, when I was 12 years old...by supporting tobacco you will lose many fans and also influence many people to do something horrible."

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(Unlike the U.S., Indonesia does not prohibit cigarette ads at concerts, in movies, on TV or at sporting events.)

But Clarkson, 27, insisted that the April 29 show must go on. On Wednesday, the touring star responded to the controversy 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," she writes.

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She explained her plight: "Unfortunately, my only option at this point was to cancel the show in order to stop the sponsorship. However, I can't justify penalizing 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."

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"The hardest part of situations like this," Clarkson adds, "is getting personally attacked for something I was completely unaware of and being used as some kind of political pawn."

 This isn't the first scandal involving an American pop star, Indonesia and smoking: in July 2008, Alicia Keyes withdrew Philip Morris' sponsorship of her Jakarta show after similar complaints arose.

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