Perfume brand Jo Malone London has apologised for removing John Boyega from an advert in China.
The Star Wars actor was named the company’s first male global ambassador last year and had conceived and directed a personal video, called London Gent, in Peckham to advertise aftershave for the brand.
However, the Chinese version of the advert was re-shot with local actor Liu Haoran, while Boyega’s friends and family that featured in the original were also removed.
The company have since issued a statement on what they described as “a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign”, saying they “deeply apologise”.
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
“John is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction,” Jo Malone London said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been replicated.”
They also revealed that they had apologised to Haoran, adding that he was not involved in the “concepting” of the campaign.
“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused,” they added. “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.”
China was previously accused of anti-black racism in regards to Boyega when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in the country a few years ago.
An edited version of the film’s original poster showed the actor’s lead character Finn reduced in size as compared to the original version.
Meanwhile, Boyega recently criticised Disney for sidelining Finn as the recent Star Wars sequel trilogy progressed, and said other actors such as Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac, had a similar experience.
“You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything,” he said. “[But] 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. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
He added of The Last Jedi: “Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know fuck all.”
Boyega continued: “So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience.
“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.”