John Boyega announced he is stepping down as a brand ambassador for the British cologne company Jo Malone after he was cut out of the Chinese version of a commercial he originally conceived, directed and starred in.
“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 tweeted on Monday.
The original commercial, titled “London Gent,” showed Boyega walking around the Peckham neighborhood in London and featured a predominantly Black cast.
“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 by personal story — showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” Boyega wrote.
Jo Malone issued a public apology to Boyega after reshooting his commercial and recasting him with Chinese actor Liu Haoran in the new version.
“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. 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,” Jo Malone said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” the “Star Wars” actor wrote. “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.”
Jo Malone accepted Boyega’s resignation, saying “We respect John’s decision and wish him all the best.”