Actor John Boyega has announced he is stepping down as brand ambassador Jo Malone after the perfume brand dropped him for the re-shoot of its advert in China.
The “Star Wars” star wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the brand’s 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.”
Jo Malone, an upscale British perfume brand owned by Estée Lauder, admitted replacing Boyega with Chinese actor Liu Haoran is “a faux-pas.” The British perfume and scented candle company issued an apology to the actor for taking a personal video he made for them and reshooting for the Chinese market.
“I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador,” the actor of Nigerian heritage tweeted on Monday. “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 film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” Boyega wrote.
The remade film kept out many elements of the ad such as Boyega’s family members and his childhood neighborhood, Peckham, in London. It also did not feature any black persons.
Boyega said he knew about it on Twitter.
— 恩典 Grace Boyega ™ (@GraceBoyega) September 14, 2020
In a statement Monday, Jo Malone said, “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 company said it also apologized to Chinese actor Haoran, who was not involved in the conceptualization of the campaign but got caught in the crossfire.
“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused,” it added. “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 original short — released last year and titled London Gent — showed Boyega on the streets of his home district of Peckham in London, hanging out and dancing with his friends and spending time with his family, who also appear wearing traditional Yoruba attires.
We are thrilled to announce that our Jo Malone London Gent film featuring @JohnBoyega is the proud winner of The Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign. #ScentofAGent #TheFragranceFoundationAwards pic.twitter.com/rNZpTVXLB6
— Jo Malone London (@JoMaloneLondon) August 27, 2020
It was not the first time Boyega was left out of a Chinese ad. In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in which he played a leading role as Finn, he was excluded from the poster for the movie in China.
In June, the star made an emotional speech on racism when he joined Black Lives Matter protests in London were he said didn’t care what happened to his career as long as the truth is told.