- Apr 21, 2010 08:58 PM ET
Kelly Clarkson responded to criticism from fans and anti-tobacco groups about an Indonesian tobacco company’s sponsorship of an upcoming concert in Jakarta.
“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,” the 27-year-old “Since You’ve Been Gone” singer wrote on her blog Wednesday. “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.”
See Kelly Clarkson’s tobacco company-sponsored ads in Indonesia
In print, TV and online ads for Clarkson’s April 29 concert, the tobacco company PT Djarum has also prominently featured their L.A. Lights brand of cigarrettes. Many of these ads include health warnings for cigarettes.
“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,” wrote Clarkson. “I think the hardest part of situations like this is getting personally attacked for something I was completely unaware of and being used as some kind of political pawn.”
Check out photos of Kelly Clarkson
The American Idol Season 1 winner’s comments come a day after the Indonesian National Commission on Child Protection, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance released a statement advocating that Clarkson remove the sponsorship.
“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,” said Matthew L. Myers, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ president. “If she rejects tobacco industry sponsorship, she can send a powerful message to children in Indonesia and around the world that they, too, should reject the tobacco industry’s deadly products and marketing.”
Watch videos of Kelly Clarkson
Besides pressure from anti-tobacco organizations, self-proclaimed Clarkson fans have set up a website to encourage visitors to write messages urging her to reject the tobacco sponsorship. “Kelly, because of you, young people will be exposed to tobacco promotions, but you have the power to change that,” the website states.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new national limits to tobacco companies on similar advertising tactics such as merchandise sales and event sponsorships to reduce the marketing of cigarettes to children and teenagers.