Despite the company’s attempt to apologize for the strange decision, John Boyega announced today that he’ll be leaving his role as global ambassador for Jo Malone London, after the fragrance company replaced the Star Wars actor with a Chinese actor and reshot a video made by and starring Boyega for use in the Chinese market. “Their decision to replace my campaign in China by using my concepts and substituting a local brand ambassador, without either my consent or print notice, was wrong,” he tweeted Monday. “The film celebrates my personal story- showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.”
Boyega’s video, titled London Gent, features his actual friends and family, and depicts the actor on horseback and walking through the city’s Peckham district, where he grew up. In the Chinese version of the campaign, Boyega is replaced by Detective Chinatown star Liu Haoran, but the ad retains other visuals like horseback riding. Jo Malone apologized for the decision this weekend, calling it “a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign.”
The company told the Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, “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 decision raised questions of anti-Black racism, especially since, while Boyega’s advertisement featured numerous people of color, the Chinese version depicts no Black people at all.
“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,” concludes Boyega. “It’s back to back but I assure you this will be dealt with swiftly. I won’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”
In response to the actor’s announcement, Jo Malone London tweeted Monday evening, “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.”