John Boyega has announced the decision to step down as global ambassador for British perfume brand Jo Malone after he was cut off and replaced in an ad campaign which he made for them by a Chinese actor.
The Star Wars actor made the personal video which was tagged ‘London Gent’ in his home town of London and was released last year. It featured Boyega walking around Peckham, south London, riding a horse, dancing with friends and hanging out with his family.
The original cast was multicultural, while the Chinese remake featured no black cast members. However, Boyega was replaced by Liu Haoran after the commercial was recast and reshot for the Chinese market.
Reacting to the development which many have described as systemic racism, Boyega disclosed on Twitter that it was done without his consent. He added that it will be dealt with swiftly as he “doesn’t have time for nonsense.”
“I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador. When I joined the brand as their first male global ambassador last year, I created the short film we used to launch the campaign. It won the Fragrance Foundation Virtual awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign,” he wrote.
He further added, “their decision to replace my campaign in China by using my concepts and substituting a local brand ambassador for me, without either my consent or prior notice, was wrong. The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.
While many brands understandably use a variety of global and local ambassadors , dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone.
It’s back to back but I assure you this will be dealt with swiftly. I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”
I have decided to step down as Jo Malone's global ambassador. When I joined the brand as their first male global ambassador last year, I created the short film we used to launch the campaign. It won the Fragrance Foundation Virtual awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) September 14, 2020
Jo Malone, owned by Estee Lauder, has since removed the advert from its campaign in China and reacted to Boyega’s decision of severing ties on Twitter, saying, “John Boyega is an incredible talent, artist and person and we were proud to have him as part of our Jo Malone London family. We respect John’s decision and we wish him all the best.”
John Boyega is an incredible talent, artist and person and we were proud to have him as part of our Jo Malone London family. We respect John’s decision and we wish him all the best.
— Jo Malone London (@JoMaloneLondon) September 14, 2020
It is not the first time Boyega has been erased from Chinese marketing materials. In 2015, Chinese posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens sparked controversy after fans spotted that Boyega’s character Finn had been significantly reduced in size from the original poster.
Earlier this month, the actor spoke out about the systemic racism he experienced during his time in Star Wars. In an interview with GQ, he said, “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side.
“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race … it makes you angry with a process like that,” he added, referencing the racist Twitter campaign to boycott the franchise based on his casting.
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