Lush faces backlash over ‘distasteful’ Paid to Lie ad campaign

Cosmetic chain Lush has come under fire for its latest advertising campaign
Cosmetic chain Lush has come under fire for its latest advertising campaign
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Cosmetics retailer Lush has been heavily criticised after it launched a new advertising campaign calling for justice for those spied on by undercover police officers.

The retailer said it aimed to highlight how some officers from “extremely secretive police units” initiated long-term, sexual relationships with people they had been sent to spy on.

But it provoked an angry backlash on social media, including from serving and former police officers.

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The Scottish Police Federation (SPF), which represents the rank and file, said the campaign was “ill-judged, offensive and anti-police”.

In a statement, Lush said: Lush said: “This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed.

“We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.

“This campaign is not about the real police work done by those frontline officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed.”

The Undercover Policing Inquiry in England and Wales is investigating police practices dating back to 1968.

Last year the Scottish Government failed in its attempts to have the inquiry extended to Scotland, but decided not to hold its own inquiry.

Campaigners will go to the Court of Session later this month in an attempt to force a judicial review of that decision.

One Lush shop window featured a poster brandishing the slogan “Paid to Lie” and fake police taping saying they “have crossed the line”.

SPF chair Andrea MacDonald said: “I think it’s digusting – it’s a really cheap shot. I have no idea why Lush feel they have any locus in this to be making such ill-informed comments.

“They have targeted every police officer in the country who are out there every day doing their best.”

But a spokeswoman for Police Spies Out Of Lives said the campaign has been “taken completely out of context” and they were not accusing all police of lying.

Cathy, a campaign member, said: “We thought it was quite obvious that this campaign was directed at very specific police officers in the undercover units – quite notorious units which have since been disbanded.

“The vast majority of police officers are paid to tell the truth. We are lost in trying to understand why a normal police officer would think this is about them.”

In 2015, the Metropolitan Police made an “unreserved apology” to women tricked into relationships by undercover officers.