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Why John Boyega is Stepping Down as the Ambassador for Jo Malone



John Boyega has decided to call it quits as the global ambassador for the British cologne company Jo Malone after they replaced him for a campaign in China but still used his concepts.

According to the actor, he came up with the concept for his commercial for Jo Malone, which he also directed. The brand reshot the commercial with Chinese actor Liu Haoran without getting his consent.

The original ad ‘London Gent’ released in 2019, showed John on the streets of his home district of Peckham in London, hanging out and dancing with real-life friends and spending time with his family. In one scene, he rides a horse in a local park while others ride bikes alongside.

The reshoot sees Haoran also hanging out with friends and also atop a horse in a park while others cycle by. This time the ad doesn’t include a single Black person.

Last year, John explained why he used the campaign to highlight his background in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. He said:

“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 said. “It’s not a chapter that stops.”

This is what John had to say on Twitter:

I have decided to step down as Jo Malone‘s global ambassador. 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.

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. 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. 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.

Jo Malone London also released a statement to apologize for what happened.

“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” a rep for the brand told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offence was caused,” they 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.”

You can watch the original ad and recent ad in the video below:

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