Celebrities

John Boyega cuts ties with Jo Malone after being replaced in Chinese ad

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John Boyega is stepping down from his role as a brand ambassador for Jo Malone after the British fragrance brand replaced him in the Chinese version of an award-winning advertisement he conceptualized.

“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,” the “Star Wars” actor, 28, tweeted on Monday.

“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.”

Titled “A London Gent,” the original commercial featured a largely black cast — including Boyega’s own friends and family — and followed the actor as he strolled around London’s Peckham neighborhood, where he grew up.

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The company then reshot the campaign for the Chinese market, replacing Boyega with local actor Liu Haoran. The version that aired in China doesn’t feature a single black person.

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“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,” Boyega tweeted. “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.”

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter over the weekend, the Jo Malone company expressed regret for its actions.

“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign. John is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction. The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been replicated,” the statement read.

“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused. We respect John, and support our partners and fans globally. We are taking this misstep very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”

The UK fragrance company accepted Boyega’s resignation on Monday, tweeting, “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.”

A vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, Boyega has committed to using an inclusion rider on his Hollywood projects and has criticized Disney for sidelining his “Star Wars” character, notably the franchise’s first-ever black Stormtrooper. He’s also been open about the harassment he’s faced from racist “Star Wars” fans.

Page Six Style has reached out to Boyega’s reps for comment.




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