Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorneys Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law and Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik on July 27th announced the filing of a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of members of the National Council of Negro Women, citing the company’s specific marketing of talcum-based baby powder to Black women, despite links to ovarian cancers.
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) leads, advocates for, and empowers women of African descent, their families, and their communities, connecting more than 2 million women and men.
NCNW has a large portion of members who have used Johnson & Johnson’s powder products, believing they were safe, and is ideally positioned to inform women about their risks.
“This lawsuit is about the lives of our grandmothers, our mothers, our wives, sisters and daughters – all of whom were cynically targeted by Johnson and Johnson,” Crump said.
“All the while, company executives knew the risk of ovarian cancer from talc.”
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.
Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its talc products are harmful, despite an overwhelming amount of research, dating back to the 1960s of the carcinogenic dangers of using talc-based products.
Black women were the subject of Johnson & Johnson’s marketing and advertising campaigns for decades and were a central part of the company’s business strategy.
A 2009 company business plan noted that the “multicultural consumer [is] highly important to business – need to maintain,” and expressed concern that it was becoming “difficult to efficiently retain core aa consumer.”
“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,” said NCNW executive director Janice Mathis.
“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. Shame on Johnson and Johnson.”
Napoli said the company put “profits over people, ignoring and hiding a mountain of research about the risks.”
“We seek to make known what long has been hidden by Johnson and Johnson, and the NCNW, with its tremendous network among Black Americans, is the ideal organization to do it.”