The actor said that "dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone"

By Benjamin VanHoose
September 15, 2020 09:09 AM
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John Boyega
Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

John Boyega is stepping down from his role as a Jo Malone London ambassador after the U.K. fragrance brand replaced him in an international campaign.

On Monday, the Star Wars actor, 28, announced on Twitter that he is formally removing himself from his partnership with Jo Malone London since the company subbed in Chinese actor Liu Haoran for his role in a short film advertisement (which Boyega conceptualized) that aired in China, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"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," Boyega said in his statement.

"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," he continued. "The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family."

Boyega, who has been an active voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, acknowledged that, while it's not unusual for a campaign to "use a variety of global and local ambassadors" ... "dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone."

"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," concluded the actor.

Jo Malone London apologized in a statement to THR, explaining that it was a "painful" mistake.

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"We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign," said the company. "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," the statement 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."

On Twitter, Jo Malone London accepted Boyega's decision to cut ties with the brand: "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."

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Boyega opened up to Women's Wear Daily in 2019 about the video ad campaign he directed, telling the outlet that he wanted to honor his roots while celebrating the new life he is carving for himself.

"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," he said at the time. "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. It’s not a chapter that stops."