Actor and activist John Boyega is stepping down from British Perfume and Candle Company Jo Malone after they reshot a short film that he created. The brand replaced the Star Wars actor with Liu Haoran for the Chinese market and excluded all the Black people who appeared in the original video that Boyega conceived and directed.
The 28-year-old tweeted on September 14, “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.”
He continued, “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 ended with, “I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”
The brand apologized via The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
See the original ad below from August 27:
This incident adds to a previous controversy in which Boyega’s image was altered in Chinese posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. In the controversial Chinese version of the Star Wars poster, the size of Boyega’s character is significantly smaller compared to the original poster. Other non-white characters were altogether removed.