John Boyega Slams Jo Malone London For Replacing Him In His Own Commercial
By Paris Close
September 15, 2020
John Boyega has stepped down as Jo Malone London’s brand ambassador.
The Star Wars actor, who has been a Jo Malone Gent since July 2019, called the company out this week for cutting him out of a video ad without his knowledge. As it goes, Boyega had originally appeared in an advert released in China but was taken aback to discover he’d been replaced by a Chinese model instead.
Taking to Twitter to announce his departure, Boyega said the company’s decision to remove him from the campaign without “my consent or prior notice” was "wrong."
"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,” Boyega tweeted Monday (September 14). “The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family."
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
We are thrilled to announce that our Jo Malone London Gent film featuring @JohnBoyega is the proud winner of The Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign. #ScentofAGent #TheFragranceFoundationAwards pic.twitter.com/rNZpTVXLB6— Jo Malone London (@JoMaloneLondon) August 27, 2020
Boyega, who starred in, directed and conceived the London Gent visual as the brand’s first male ambassador, drew inspiration from moments of his own childhood and family for the visual campaign, which includes moments of him with loved ones and shots of his hometown of Peckham. (It even won Best Media Campaign at the 2020 Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards.)
With that, it’s understandable why Boyega felt slighted by the company’s choice to repackage his vision with a narrative seemingly designed to appeal to Chinese audiences, including swapping him out with Chinese actor Liu. The brand, who described the edit as a “misstep,” has since apologized to Boyega in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
"We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign," Jo Malone London told THR. "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."
“We respect John, and support our partners and fans globally,” the company added. “We are taking this misstep very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”
Apologies aside, the dust is far from being settled. See how some Twitter users are responding below.
This is not comfortable to admit, but they replaced John Boyega to appeal to the anti Black Chinese market of consumers & it's sad. Keeping John Boyega in the advert (which he conceived & created) could help break the chain of anti Blackness. Just saying. https://t.co/pgqsSb4pnM— Johanna M. (@blueberry1949) September 14, 2020
Photo: Getty Images