The Smell of Bullshit, part 77: Another Lush Campaign Upsets People

Several years ago the press revealed that the Metropolitan Police had sent officers undercover into various organisations, to infiltrate the organisations and get evidence of criminal activity. During their undercover time, several of the officers began relationships with women, who were understandably distraught when the truth of their identities were revealed.

I don’t know enough about police work to comment on whether infiltrating groups is common or acceptable police behaviour. I don’t know whether any of those police officers genuinely fell for the women they had relationships with, or whether it was all manipulation and abuse of power. Only the officers involved know that and regardless of any real feelings they might have had, those relationships were strictly forbidden. Certainly the women involved feel that they were manipulated, abused and deceived.

When this information first became public, Mark Constantine had a right bee in his bonnet about it. He posted about it on the Lush forum a lot, along with posts about news reports of MI5 and MI6 using torture or information gained by torturing suspects. He didn’t often post on the forum about anything but he had a lot to say about these issues, in his usual pretentious, trying to be cryptic, pseudo-intellectual way.

Now, Lush believe that the public inquiry into the claims of wrongdoing by the undercover officers is protecting officers, and they have chosen to draw attention to this by what might be their most over the top and not in a good way campaign yet.


On their website, Lush say

“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 front line 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. Our campaign is to highlight this small and secretive subset of undercover policing that undermines and threatens the very idea of democracy.”

But unsurprisingly, the public are seeing it as an attack on all police. Thousands of people on social media are threatening to boycott Lush, their facebook reviews had approx 16,000 one star reviews added overnight, and at least one shop has removed the campaign from its window (note to staff: make sure you’ve joined a union for when the shit comes down on you).


The thing that bugs me most about this is – Lush knew that this window display would trigger strong reactions from the public, and they clearly didn’t give a fuck about how that would affect the frontline shop staff. I’m sure that 99.99% of police officers are professional enough not to let this ill-conceived campaign affect their attitude to their work, but if I worked in a shop with that display up, I’d be at best embarrassed and at worst reluctant to call the police to an emergency situation. Some Lush staff used to be police. Some police used to be Lush staff. Lots of Lush staff have family who are police. Lush can’t have given a second’s thought to what this display would feel like to those staff. And what of the women abused by these few police officers? How do they feel, going into town for a bit of shopping and finding their trauma all over a shop window, selling increasingly laughable products at increasingly inflated prices?

Of course the prices are inflated; Mark keeps giving his money away.

Edited to add: how do the abused women feel about the campaign?

2 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 77: Another Lush Campaign Upsets People

  1. As I watched the backlash to the spy cops campaign unfold on social media I felt a greatly conflicted. Whilst it has a serious and important message at its heart that I agree with, part of me couldn’t help but smirk at some of the negative reactions or more so the revelations that came about as its result. The phrase all your chickens coming home to roost springs to mind! Having previously worked for Lush for three years I like many others was swept up in its ‘we’re so great, we’re doing good things’ vibe. But that is bullshit. I have countless stories and evidence of bullying, sexual harassment, nepotism, theft, indiscretion with regards to serious personal issues of staff and insane levels of inefficiency – and this is just one manager. What I have read and heard about others it seems like this is common when it comes to Lush managers. When it comes to the campaigning I think that all the causes Lush has looked at previously have been extremely worthwhile and on the whole greatly successful. So why was this one so different? Because it appeared to be an attack on the police, I did take the time to read all the campaign information and clearly that was not the intent and I do think it is very worthwhile to bring attention to the scandal and abuse that occurred. I do think the police should be accountable for their actions and that the public should be able to question or address an issue with the police force without the vehement backlash that Lush received for this campaign. However the visuals used were clearly misleading and meant to be provocative and whomever was responsible using them needs to be accountable for that decision too. They get to sit in their office whilst the floor staff have to deal with the backlash -not the managers FYI they mostly just sit in their offices too. I was told today that the campaign is being withdrawn and Lush’ light boxes will be left blank – another statement they are making there *eyeroll*. Mostly what I have problem with regards to this campaign is Lush is being the most ridiculous hypocrite. I have personally raised issued of unfair treatment/abuses of power within the company and I can name a dozen others who have also. I am aware of one report to head office of sexual harassment which was never even given so much as a reply. Nothing ever gets done about any of it no matter how serious. So yes the police force has a lot to answer for, but so does you. Maybe you should get your own house in order before you start pointing the finger at a profession that actually does vital work because as much as Lush employees can keep shouting “we’re not just a soap shop” you are. Lush is pure capitalism, profiting on being ‘ethical’ but it is only a facade, to keep people feeling good about buying from them. As long as there is no protection for staff it is all just a mask and I hope this is the mask beginning to slip.

    • Thank you for speaking out for us ❤
      I've spent 6 years with the company in management, and it's pure evil.

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