By: Alyssa Wilson
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of members of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
The suit was filed Tuesday in New Jersey with his legal partner Paul Napoli, per ABC News. The lawsuit alleges Johnson & Johnson specifically targeted Black women with its marketing of the talcum-based baby powder despite its links to ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson TARGETED Black women in marketing campaigns for their talcum-based baby powder! The lives of Black women MATTER! This multi-billion dollar corporation must be held accountable for knowingly marketing its harmful, ovarian cancer-causing product to Black women! pic.twitter.com/1kjgJD4aCs
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 27, 2021
A release from Crump’s office said, “Internal documents from Johnson & Johnson reveal the company’s intent to market its talc-based products specifically to Black Women. The complaint requests corrective action to inform Black women and all other consumers about the risks associated with using the products and their connection to ovarian cancers.”
“I would be remiss if I did not say exactly what this lawsuit is about. It is about the lives of our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our nieces, and our wives, and how they were sinisterly targeted by Johnson and Johnson,” Crump said at a press conference. “This multi-billion-dollar corporation, their corporate executives know about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.”
NEWS ALERT: Black women were the subject of marketing campaigns for Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder for decades, despite links to ovarian cancers. @AttorneyCrump and @PaulJNapoli announced the filing of a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of @NCNWHQ. pic.twitter.com/QmCc1rcgrv
— Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) July 27, 2021
Victims who lost family members to ovarian cancer spoke about how it impacted their lives. Janice Mathis, NCNW’s executive director, said Black women have been using Johnson & Johnson products as part of their daily routines for generations.
“This company, through its words and images, told Black women that we were offensive in our natural state and needed to use their products to stay fresh. Generations of Black women believed them and made it our daily practice to use their products in ways that put us at risk of cancer— and we taught our daughters to do the same,” she said.
Although Johnson & Johnson faces more than 20,000 lawsuits related to its talcum products, it continues to deny claims that its baby powder causes cancer. The company stopped selling the talc-based baby powder in 2020 on claims that demand it be dropped due to misinformation and litigation.
In June 2020, an appellate court in Missouri upheld more than $2 billion in damages against the company, claiming it knew there was asbestos in its baby powder. The Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s appeal of the verdict in the case.
“The accusations being made against our company are false, and the idea that our Company would purposefully and systematically target a community with bad intentions is unreasonable and absurd,” the company said in a statement to ABC News. “Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, and our campaigns are multicultural and inclusive.”
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