John Boyega resigns from Jo Malone ambassador role over Chinese ad


John Boyega

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PA Media

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John Boyega said the original advert “celebrated my personal story”

John Boyega has resigned as global ambassador for perfume brand Jo Malone after he was replaced in an ad he made for them by a Chinese actor.

The Star Wars actor made the personal video in his home town of London, but it was re-shot for the Chinese market.

The company apologised for what it described as a “misstep” that caused “offence”.

However, Boyega has said Jo Malone was “wrong” to have used another actor “without my consent or prior notice”.

Writing on Twitter, the British star said while he accepted that companies would use different representatives around the world, “dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone”.

“The film celebrated my personal story – showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” he added.

“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.”

The recreated advert largely followed the same script, but featured Chinese star Liu Haoran instead of Boyega.

The original version, titled London Gent, showed Boyega hanging out with friends and family in Peckham, where he grew up. They were also removed for Chinese audiences.

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Media captionSpot the difference: John Boyega advert and the Chinese version

Jo Malone, owned by Estee Lauder, has since removed the advert from its campaign in China.

“We deeply apologise for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” they said in statement on Monday.

Boyega’s sister Grace posted the Chinese version of the advert in a Twitter response.

‘Taking this misstep very seriously’

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Jo Malone London said: “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.

“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognise that this was painful and that offence 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.”

‘Pushed to the side’

It’s not the first time Boyega has fallen foul of editing for the Chinese market.

There was controversy back in 2016 when Disney unveiled a re-versioned movie poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in China.

Boyega’s new lead character Finn was shrunken in size, compared with the original poster.

Earlier this month, the star called for an end to black actors being “pushed to the side” by film companies.

Writers, actors and directors including JK Rowling and Jordan Peele also praised the 28-year-old for his emotional speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in the summer.

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Media captionJohn Boyega gives emotional protest speech: “Black men, it starts with you”

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