Pin It
John Boyega

Jo Malone apologises after John Boyega is cut from Chinese campaign

TextAlex Peters

UPDATE: Boyega has cut ties with the brand – 'I don’t have time for nonsense'

The perfume and candle company Jo Malone London has issued an apology to John Boyega after a personal campaign he created for the brand was completely reshot for the Chinese market, removing him entirely and not featuring a single Black person.

The actor and activist was named Jo Malone London’s first male global ambassador last year and the brand released an original short conceived and directed by and starring Boyega entitled London Gent which featured his family and friends in Peckham where he grew up. Boyega said at the time the campaign was a way to highlight and celebrate his background. 

“There’s a mixture of things you see me do in the film, you see me in a professional environment on a film set, then with family and it’s about breaking free of the concept of 'going back or returning to your roots' but more about the roots existing with this new side of my life,” he told WWD.

However, earlier this month, a new ad was released by the brand for the Chinese market which kept major elements of London Gent’s script and concept but replaced Boyega with local star Liu Haoran, a move seen by many as another example of anti-Black prejudice in China. The brand has since released an apology calling the move a “painful” misstep.

“We deeply apologise for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” Jo Malone London said in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter who understand that Boyega wasn’t made aware of the new commercial’s production but found out via Twitter. “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 company says it has removed the local version of the campaign and also apologised to Haoran who wasn’t involved in the conception of the ad. “We recognise that this was painful and that offense was caused,” the statement continues. “We respect John, and support our partners and fans globally. We are taking this misstep very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”

This is not the first time Boyega has faced apparent racism in China. In 2015, Chinese posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens were criticised for significantly reducing the size of Boyega’s character Finn compared to the original poster. Other non-white characters, including Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron and Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata had been cut out entirely.

Earlier this month, Boyega addressed his experiences as a Black actor as part of the Disney franchise in an interview with GQ. “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side,” he says. “They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.” 

He also discussed the all too common experience of Black actors and models of hairdressers being unable to style their hair properly and the significance of his own hair growth journey over the past two years. “When black men grow out their hair it’s a very powerful thing,” he says. “Culturally, it stands for something.”

UPDATE 15/9/2020:

John Boyega has cut ties with Jo Malone London, stepping down from his role as global ambassador. Sharing the news on Twitter, Boyega wrote that the brand's decision to replace him in the campaign without his consent or prior notice was “wrong.”

“The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” he wrote. “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.” The actor said the situation would be dealt with swifty. “I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”

In response, Jo Malone London put out a statement on Twitter saying the company respected Boyega's decision and wished him all the best.

Read Next
Evan Rachel Wood in Kajillionaire
Evan Rachel Wood in Kajillionaire is the ultimate quarantine hair inspo Beauty news
NikkieTutorials on her dark side and the trend that’ll be the new Euphoria Beauty Feature
Reconnect and find balance: Your October 2020 beauty horoscope Horoscopes
Joe Biden beauty brand us election president
Biden Beauty wants you to vote blue at the upcoming US election Beauty news
trixie cosmetics Katya collaboration red scare
Drag Race’s Katya is releasing beauty products with Trixie Cosmetics Beauty news
Starface launch pimple patches to encourage young people to vote Beauty news
Trump AOC
AOC points out the hypocrisy of Trump’s $70,000 hairstyling spend Beauty news
Dolly Parton Patti LaBella
Watch Dolly Parton play her acrylic nails in this unearthed clip from 1987 Beauty news
tomonyan55 tomoya nakagawa nail nails artist tokyo
Tomoya Nakagawa’s out of this world nails will take you to the year 3000 Nail artist
nasa international space station Estee Lauder serum
Estée Lauder is paying NASA $17,500 an hour to take photos in space Beauty news
lizzo vogue interview body positivity movement
Lizzo says ‘commercialised’ body positivity is a ‘lotta white girls’ Beauty news
Go BTS of the virtual, otherworldly beauty at GCDS’s digital fashion show Beauty Feature
This skincare saviour will rescue you from dryness, breakouts, and more Product of the Week
Cara Delevingne Prada
People with bushy eyebrows are more likely to be narcissistic, egotistical Beauty news
Harris Reed Candles
Harris Reed talks the ‘smelly, immersive experience’ of new candle line Beauty news
Jeffree Star youtube beauty drama scandal
How the beauty world became so obsessed with drama Think piece