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Rapper attacks Unilever for ‘hiding behind fake PSAs and Pepsodent smiles’ after alleged environmental abuses in India

Protest against Unilever

Petition against Unilever over alleged mercury poisoning in Kodaikanal

An musician has attacked Unilever through the medium of rap for alleged environmental abuses at a disused thermometer factory in India.

A three-minute video performed by singer Sofia Ashraf, called ‘Kodaikanal won’t’, accuses Hindustan Lever of dumping mercury at a scrapyard in the Tamil Nadu town of Kodaikanal after the factory closed, which protesters says has led to the deaths of workers and their families living in the area.

In the video, protesters chant “Unilever, clean up your mess” repeatedly.

“Kodaikanal won’t step down until you make amends now,” Ashraf sings along with people in the video who appear to be protesters. In June, protests against Hindustan Lever by former factory workers took place outside company headquarters in Andheri, Mumbai.

“Unilever has been hiding behind their fake PSAs [public service announcements] and Pepsodent smiles. They’ve washed their hands of Kodai with Lifebuoy,” the rapper said, referring to Unilever’s famous Lifebuoy soap.

Since it was uploaded to YouTube on 30 July, the video has been viewed more than 800,000 times. The video links to a petition calling on Unilever CEO Paul Polman to clean up the mercury pollution and compensate workers.

The petition had received 26,000 signatures at the time of publishing.

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