OKLAHOMA CITY — Attorney Gen. Mike Hunter on Wednesday issued a news release saying his office will no longer use the term “family company” to describe drug maker Johnson & Johnson, after SC Johnson threatened to sue.
“Going forward we will not refer to Johnson & Johnson as ‘a family company’ because the Johnson & Johnson family of companies most certainly are no such thing,” he said in the release.
Wisconsin-based SC Johnson’s Chief Executive Officer H. Fisk Johnson sent Hunter a second letter last week threatening legal action for using its “family company” tagline when referring to the similarly named company Johnson & Johnson.
SC Johnson makes consumer products such as Glade, Pledge, Windex and Ziploc.
Hunter on Aug. 26 won a $572 million judgment for Oklahoma against New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson and its pharmaceutical subsidiaries over the state’s opioid crisis.
“The state of Oklahoma’s reference to Johnson & Johnson as not living up to its image as ‘a family company’ was in no way intended to cause confusion with the separate and independent company S.C. Johnson,” the release said.
“One company, S.C. Johnson, makes household cleaning products. The other, Johnson & Johnson, was the kingpin of the Oklahoma opioid crisis.
“We understand why no company, including S.C. Johnson, would ever want to be associated with Johnson & Johnson’s involvement in the opioid crisis,” Hunter said.
“Our references to Johnson & Johnson not being ‘a family company’ were made in regards to its efforts to market itself as a family friendly company — including running commercials in Oklahoma throughout our trial posing itself as a company that provides products to your family from the moment a baby is born until the end of life. Of course, the thousands of Oklahomans who have died from what the court described as a ‘menace to Oklahoma’ caused by Johnson & Johnson disagree.”