Lush removes 'anti-police' posters for controversial #SpyCops campaign

Lush says it has "suspended" the window displays - described by some as anti-police - as part of its controversial Spy Cops campaign, citing "the safety of our staff".

Controversial: Spy Cops campaign has received much criticism
Controversial: Spy Cops campaign has received much criticism

The soap retailer issued a statement on Friday following controversy over the campaign, which aims to highlight the issue of undercover police overstepping the mark to infiltrate the lives of activists - the subject of a Home Office-backed inquiry.

Lush earlier said shop staff faced "intimidation" from ex-police officers over the in-store displays, which include a picture of an officer with the words "paid to lie".

The new statement says: "For the safety of our staff we have suspended the window."

(image below is from Facebook group UK Cop Humour).

It is not clear whether the campaign will continue, and if it will, what form it will take.

A spokesperson for Lush said the company is not doing any interviews, and pointed PRWeek to the campaign group Police Spies Out Of Lives, which is working with the retailer on the initiative. PRWeek was unable to contact the campaign group at the time of publication.

As part of the campaign, Lush had been stocking postcards addressed to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, which members of the public can sign, asking him to make changes to the inquiry; for example, by releasing names of the officers and to extend the inquiry to Scotland.

The campaign met with a fierce backlash, with the National Police Chiefs Council accusing Lush of being insulting and damaging towards the police.

Javid was also highly critical:

Edelman UK CEO Ed Williams was among those in the PR industry to have expressed criticism.

Other PR chiefs contacted by PRWeek were equally scathing.

Lush had earlier insisted the campaign is not about denigrating the police.

The campaign has received some support. Writing on Lush's website, the company has been praised for being "courageous" and the victim of people misunderstanding the meaning of the campaign.

One commentator writes: "Good work, Lush. I don't know why people are seemingly willfully ignoring the message that you're sending - that you're not criticising all police and that this campaign is taking a stand on a specific and confined topic - but I guess social media pitchforks are quick to get brandished."

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