John Boyega Quits Jo Malone Ambassador Role After Chinese Ad Replaces Him

“Dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone.”

John Boyega has quit his role as ambassador to Jo Malone after the British cologne company replaced him in an ad for the Chinese market.

Taking to his Twitter account to announce his resignation on Monday, the Star Wars actor explained how he had come up with the idea for the short film commercial and was unaware it would be recast with actor Liu Haoran for the Chinese version.

“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 wrote. “The film celebrated my personal story — showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.”

“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.”

Following his statement, Jo Malone posted, “John Boyega is an incredible talent, artist and person and we were proud to have him as part of our Jo Malone London family. We respect John’s decision and we wish him all the best.”

The original commercial — called “The London Gent” — showed Boyega walking around the neighborhood he grew up in, riding a white horse and hanging out with friends.

The Chinese version used a similar story line and some of the same concepts such as the white horse. No Black actors appear in the newer ad.

On Saturday, Jo Malone issued a statement and took down the ad.

“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” the company wrote.

Earlier this month, Boyega called out Disney for the treatment of his character Finn in the new “Star Wars” films.

“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 said in a GQ interview.

The actor was also a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter protests in June as he gave a passionate speech at a rally in London.

“Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time,” he roared. “I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting!”

[via TooFab]

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