John Boyega has officially stepped down as a brand ambassador for Jo Malone. The decision comes several days after it was revealed that the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker actor was cut from an ad for the fragrance in China. The ad was originally created by Boyega, who was replaced by Liu Haoran for the Chinese version, which didn't feature any Black actors. As a result, Boyega is cutting ties with the company.
The announcement was made by John Boyega on Twitter. In a thread, the 28-year-old filmmaker explained that he feels the way Jo Malone handled the situation was wrong. Here's what Boyega had to say about it.
"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. 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."
The original version of the video, titled London Gent, features John Boyega walking through the neighborhood in London where he grew up. He is also seen riding a white horse and dancing at a party. The same concept was recycled by the fragrance brand for the Chinese ad without Boyega's knowledge or consent. Speaking further, Boyega had this to add.
"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. 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."
Estee Lauder owns Jo Malone. The company previously apologized to John Boyega, who is best known for his work as Finn in the Star Wars franchise. That was not enough to repair the damage. Taking to Twitter, Jo Malone issued the following statement in the wake of Boyega's decision.
"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."
John Boyega has demonstrated that he is nothing if not principled and outspoken. He appeared at a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this year, despite vocalizing concern that it might damage his career. Though many prominent figures in Hollywood came to his defense and expressed a desire to work with him. Boyega also recently criticized Disney's handling of characters like Finn and Rose in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The actor will next be seen in the TV miniseries Small Axe. You can check out the full statement from John Boyega's Twitter.