#Notallcops: Exploring ‘Rotten Apple’ Narratives In Media Reporting of Lush’s 2018 ‘Spycops’ Undercover Policing Campaign
This article examines the media framing of the 2018 ‘paid to lie’ campaign of Lush, a high-street ethical cosmetics firm. The viral nature of Lush’s intervention into the undercover policing of activism in the United Kingdom highlights the significance of media reporting in the construction of narratives surrounding policing and activism. A qualitative content analysis was undertaken of articles published online in the immediate aftermath of the campaign launch. Based on this analysis, this article argues that the intensely polarised debate following Lush’s ‘paid to lie’ campaign is representative of a wider discursive framing battle that continues to persist today. Within this battle, the state and police establishment promote ‘rotten apple’ explanations of the undercover policing scandal that seek to individualise blame and shirk institutional accountability (Punch 2003). This is significant, as identifying systemic dimensions of the ‘spycops’ scandal is a key focus for activists involved in the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry (Schlembach 2016).
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