John Boyega quits Jo Malone role after being cut from advert

‘Dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone,’ actor writes

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 15 September 2020 08:30
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John Boyega has stepped down from his role as global ambassador for Jo Malone London after the brand cut him from a reshot advert he originally starred in for the perfume and candle brand.

Last year, the company - which is owned by Estee Lauder - released a short film, titled “A London Gent”, featuring Boyega, describing it as “a story of talent, energy and inspiration from a true Londoner”. 

The film depicts various aspects of the Star Wars actor’s life, showing him socialising with his friends, being with his family and hanging out in Peckham, London, where he grew up.

But when the advert was launched in China recently, Boyega was replaced with actor Liu Haoran, with the new version of the short film retaining several of the key elements of the original and not featuring any black people.

Jo Malone London has since apologised for replacing Boyega, describing it as a “misstep”.

Now, however, Boyega himself has revealed that he has severed ties with the brand.

“I have decided to step down as Jo Malone's global ambassador,” he 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. 

"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 added that while many brands use a number of global ambassadors to represent them in different parts of the world, “dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone.”

The 28-year-old 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.”

Jo Malone London issued a statement in response to Boyega’s decision on Twitter, writing: “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.”

Many of Boyega’s followers responded by thanking him for speaking out.

“Thank you for using your voice to raise awareness and vocalise your decision. We have so much respect for you,” replied one person.

In a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter prior to Boyega publicly stepping down, Jo Malone London said: “We deeply apologise 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.”

Following the news of Boyega’s decision to step down from his role at Jo Malone London, the company sent a further statement to The Independent, which reads: 

"We deeply apologise for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of a recent Jo Malone London marketing campaign. The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experience and should not have been replicated.  

"While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognise that this was deeply painful and that much offence was caused.  

"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. We are taking this misstep and the recent events very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”

On 14 September, Jo Malone CBE, who sold her namesake brand to Estee Lauder over 20 years ago, tweeted: “Today after recent events, I would like to repeat that since 2006, I have had no involvement in any capacity with Jo Malone London.

“It is a brand I sold to Estee Lauder in 1999 and exited. It continues to be part of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc. Thank you.”

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