Why John Boyega cut ties with Jo Malone over Chinese ad controversy

John Boyega. Picture: Getty Images

The brand re-cast and re-shot an advert he conceptualised for them without his consent or without any prior notice.

After finding out that he was replaced by a Chinese actor in an advert/short film he created as part of his role as a Jo Malone ambassador, Star Wars actor John Boyega has decided to cut ties with the brand.

According to a Twitter thread by Boyega, he made the decision because he could not condone the way the brand “dismissively traded out his culture”.

The actor explained that he had created a short film for the brand which they used to launch the campaign announcing him as their first male ambassador.

“It won the Fragrance Foundation Virtual awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign,” tweeted Boyega.

“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,” he added.

He further promised fans that this would be “dealt with swiftly” and concluded by adding that he does not have time for nonsense.

Following the controversy, Jo Malone, which is owned by Estee Lauder, removed the advert from its campaign in China.

The company also issued a statement apologising for the execution of their campaign in China.

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

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jo Malone London apologised further, calling their re-casting a “mistake”.

“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 controversy has since sparked a debate over China’s racism towards people of colour.

READ NEXT: SA teacher in China on ‘forced quarantine’ for Africans

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print