John Boyega has decided to step down from his role as a global ambassador for Jo Malone. The decision comes after he was replaced in an advertisement for the brand that aired in China.
“Their decision to replace my campaign in China by using my concepts and substituting a local brand ambassador, without either my consent or print notice, was wrong. The film celebrates my personal story- showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.” he tweeted yesterday.
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.
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) September 14, 2020
The award-winning commercial, “London Gent,” was conceived of, directed by, and starred John Boyega, as well as a diverse and multicultural cast. However, for Chinese markets, the ad was reshot with local actor Liu Haoran, and Boyega was not informed of the decision to recast and reshoot the ad.
John Boyega’s video, features his actual friends and family, and depicts the actor on horseback and walking through the city’s Peckham district, where he grew up. Jo Malone apologized for the decision this weekend, calling it “a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign.”
The company told the Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, “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 decision raised questions of anti-Black racism, especially since, while Boyega’s advertisement featured numerous people of color, the Chinese version depicts no Black people at all.
John Boyega explained that he understands many brands use a variety of global and local ambassadors in their targeted advertising, but added that dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something he can condone.