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6 Degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup


Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream)

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum announces Scarlett Johansson as the company's first-ever global brand ambassador on Jan. 10, 2014 in New York City.

Johansson's Super Bowl ad

HOLLYWOOD, FL (JTA)-Scarlett Johansson, faceless in the movie "Her," just landed a gig as the face of an Israeli company. According to The New York Times, the Jewish actress has been chosen as SodaStream's "global spokesperson" and will star in its upcoming Super Bowl ad.

In the commercial, airing during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox on Feb. 2, Johansson will show us how the home soda maker works. The point is to "demonstrate how easy it is, how sexy it is, to make your own soda," said Daniel Birnbaum, chief executive of SodaStream International.

Who better to do that than the woman who was named Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive" for 2013? It also doesn't hurt that she's had some practice: Johansson has been a proud SodaStream user for a few years and has even gifted the machine to friends.

"I love carbonated water but hate the waste of bottles," Johansson said in a behind-the-scenes clip for the upcoming commercial. Sounds like it'll be far less controversial than the company's last Super Bowl ad, its first, showing a regular soda bottle exploding every time someone used SodaStream. It was seen as an assault on certain behemoth soda brands, and CBS ultimately refused to air it.

Russell Simmons mixes up Sharon and Peres in condolence tweet

Hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons was one of the many to publicly mourn former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who passed away on Saturday. He was probably one of the few, though, to mourn the wrong man.

"R.I.P. my friend Ariel Sharon great pleasure working with you... special occasions, your work to promote tolerance was inspiring," read the tweet that went out to his 3 million followers.

If only Simmons hadn't made the mistake of using social media while exercising-a widely known no-no!

"On stair master... a little light headed. Confused Ariel Sharon with longtime friend, Shimon Peres. Sadly Sharon promoted war, not peace," read the follow-up tweet. The first message was deleted.

In case you're left wondering just how much Simmons actually knows about the Middle East, he was sure to shoot out a small cluster of tweets on Sunday about his work with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which promotes Muslim-Jewish and black-Jewish relations.

"Last year, I spoke at Shimon Peres' conference in Israel about our work at the @FFEUny to bring Jews and Muslims together in peace," Simmons said, adding: "During that trip to Israel, where I met with chief rabbi of Israel and grand mufti of Palestinian ppl, we launched 20 programs for @FFEUny."

He made no mention of how during the trip he compared the Anti-Defamation League's national director, Abraham Foxman, to Louis Farrakhan. Unless he deleted that one before anyone noticed.

Rolling Stones talking about first Tel Aviv gig

More serious negotiations are going down in Israel-this time between Israeli producers and the Rolling Stones. According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Acharonot, the band is in the process of hashing out a deal to add a Tel Aviv performance to its upcoming European summer tour. It would be the first Stones concert in the Holy Land.

The $4.5 million being offered the Stones is the largest amount for an artist playing Israel.

Representatives for the legendary rockers are set to arrive in Israel shortly to continue talks.

Israeli fans bummed out by last year's false rumors of a Stones show are likely crossing their fingers and hoping for some satisfaction.

Meryl Streep labels Walt Disney as anti-Semitic, sexist

Walt Disney may be portrayed as a mensch in "Saving Mr. Banks," but Meryl Streep wants everyone to know that isn't entirely accurate.

Streep took the stage at the National Board of Review awards gala in New York to present an award to Emma Thompson for her role in the film about how the man behind the mouse, played by Tom Hanks, convinced author P.L. Travers (Thompson) to sell him the movie rights to her book "Mary Poppins."

First Streep praised Thompson, but according to Variety and other sources, she quickly launched into a little speech about Disney's anti-Semitic and sexist views. She pointed out that the mogul "supported anti-Semitic industry lobbying groups" and that he was a "gender bigot."

"Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men," Streep read, quoting a 1938 letter the company sent to an aspiring female animator.

Rumors about Disney have been out there forever (you've got to be living under a bridge if you've never heard the one about him being cryogenically frozen), but naturally they've been discussed more since the popular film's release.

What's true and what's made up? Vulture does a great job breaking it down right here.

Lena Dunham lands Vogue cover

"Girls" is hitting the newsstands (that's where you can find magazines printed on glossy paper, in case you were born after 1990).

According to Page Six of the New York Post, Vogue is devoting its February issue to the buzzed-about show. Lena Dunham will grace the cover, and in the process likely generate a dizzying amount of online commentary about how nutso/awesome it is to see a woman who isn't size zero splayed out in fancy clothing-something that doesn't happen often under Vogue editor Anna Wintour's watch.

Clearly, Wintour truly approves of Dunham. She even posed alongside the "Girls" creator and star at the show's premiere Monday night, where Dunham looked simultaneously glamorous and totally real in a glittering Rochas gown.

Anthony Weiner appearing on 'Alpha House'

Everyone's favorite disgraced former New York mayoral candidate is back on screen, and fortunately this time he'll be fully clothed. At least that's the hope.

Anthony Weiner will play himself on the season finale of "Alpha House," Amazon's original political series about a bunch of senators rooming together in Washington, D.C. The show was created by "Doonesbury" writer Garry Trudeau and stars John Goodman.

According to The Wrap, the episode will feature cameos from other real-life Washington players as well, such as GOP Chairman Michael Steele, CNN analyst Jeffrey Tobin and former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. Also making an appearance: Bill Murray, returning to the role of Sen. Vernon Smits.

Weiner no doubt is glad to be making positive, benign headlines again, unlike another sex scandal-scarred Jewish New York politician we know who this week was falsely accused of sucking his girlfriend's toes in a hot tub in front of a 10-year-old.

For the latest Jewish celebrity news, visit JTA's 6 Degrees (no Bacon) blog.


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