John Boyega steps down as British perfume brand ambassador

John Boyega
John Boyega

Star Wars actor John Boyega has announced he is stepping down as a brand ambassador for the British perfume and candle company Jo Malone after the brand reshot a video he created for the Chinese market.

The British-Nigerian actor tweeted on Monday, saying he had no prior knowledge of the reshoot until the video was publicised.

“I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador,” he wrote.

“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.”

Boyega said the company’s decision to leave him out of the ad despite using his concepts was “wrong”.

“The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family,” he said.

“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. It’s back to back but I assure you this will be dealt with swiftly. I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people,” he added.

In an apology issued on Saturday, the brand called its action a “mistake”, adding that “John is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction”.

Gboyega was replaced in the ad with actor Liu Haoran (Detective Chinatown). The company also apologised to Haoran.

The ensuing ad, which originally featured Boyega’s family members and his childhood neighborhood in London, Peckham, did not feature any black individuals.

Boyega had in 2015 been involved in a race-tinged marketing controversy in China after he was shrunk out of poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.