Star Wars actor John Boyega announced he stepped down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador after discovering they replaced him with a local brand ambassador in China.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Boyega was replaced by Chinese star Liu Haoran in Jo Malone London’s Chinese ad campaign despite using Boyega’s personal video and story that featured his family and friends.
The ad campaign and video featuring Boyega was titled London Gent and was first released back in October 2019.
Boyega described the campaign to Women’s Wear Daily back in October 2019 saying, “There’s a mixture of things you see me do in the film, you see me in a professional environment on a film set, then with family and it’s about breaking free of the concept of ‘going back or returning to your roots’ but more about the roots existing with this new side of my life.” Boyega added, “It’s not a chapter that stops.”
The British perfume and scented candle company issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter apologizing for replacing Boyega.
They stated, “We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign.” They added, “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.”
They also stated, “While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused.”
Jo Malone continued, “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.”
Following the apology, Boyega took to Twitter where he announced he would no longer act as a global ambassador for Jo Malone.
Boyega wrote, “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 continued, “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.”
Boyega then added, “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.”
Finally, he concluded, “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.”
Boyega has previously been very critical of Disney’s treatment of his character, Finn, in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Speaking with GQ, Boyega stated, “You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] 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. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
Boyega added, “Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f*** all. So what do you want me to say?”
He continued, “What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.”
What do you make of Boyega’s decision to quit as Jo Malone’s global ambassador? What do you make of Jo Malone’s apology?