Star Wars actor John Boyega was at the middle of an advertising controversy with Jo Malone London this week and the founder came to voice her support. Jo Malone hasn’t been with the company since 2006 but told ITV that replacing the Black actor with a different actor in the Chinese market was wrong. Boyega shot that entire ad in London to celebrate his heritage and his family and the company opted to replace him with Liu Haoran. After the Star Wars actor caught wind, he was understandably upset. It wouldn’t be the first time that he was taken out of an ad campaign or minimized in a foreign market after completing a project. Social media quickly voiced their disapproval for the move and rallied behind the Finn actor.
Malone said in the interview, “I am so horrified and disgusted about what has been done to John… How dare somebody treat him [like that], and he finds out he is replaced on social media?… They never spoke to him. That for me is utterly despicable and is disgusting.”
On Twitter, Boyega said, “ Their decision to replace my campaign in China 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 brand tweeted an apology after Boyega’s words had caught on around the world:
“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of a recent Jo Malone London marketing campaign,” they began. “John Boyega is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction. The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experience and should not have been replicated.”
“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was a painful and that offense was caused,” the statement continued. “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. John since took the decision to step down as Global Brand Ambassador. We are incredibly proud to have worked with John and to have had him be a part of our Jo Malone London family. We respect John’s decision, and we wish him all the best. His vivacity and whole-heartedness is present in everything that he does. We will miss him greatly.”
Were you aware of this happening to Boyega this week? Let us know down in the comments!