Star Wars actor John Boyega quits Jo Malone after his withdrawal from advertising

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Star wars Actor John Boyega has resigned as ambassador for fragrance brand Jo Malone London, owned by US company Estée Lauder, after the company banned him from the Chinese version of an ad he was running .

Jo Malone, which was sold by his eponymous creator two decades ago, took on Mr. Boyega last year as his first male ‘global ambassador’ and released an advertisement called London Gent in which he spends time in Peckham , in South London, where he grew up. .

The company then released a new version of the ad starring Chinese actor Liu Haoran, and no black actor, for the Chinese market, which sparked an outcry on social media.

Mr. Boyega said on Twitter Monday evening: “I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s Global Ambassador. . . Their decision to replace my campaign in China using my concepts and substituting for a local brand ambassador, without my consent or notice, was a mistake.

“The film celebrated my personal story – featuring my hometown, including my friends and family. While many brands naturally appeal to a variety of global and local ambassadors, I cannot subscribe to a dismissive exchange of its culture in this way. ”

Mr Boyega, whose parents moved to the UK from Nigeria, is an anti-racist activist.

Jo Malone London said on Twitter: “John Boyega is an incredible talent, artist and person and we were proud to have him in our Jo Malone London family. We respect John’s decision and wish him good luck.

He had already withdrawn the Chinese version of the ad and apologized, telling the Hollywood Reporter: “We deeply apologize for what, on our side, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign.

“The concept of the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been reproduced. . . we recognize that it was painful and that this offense was caused. Estee Lauder did not respond to requests for additional comment at the time of posting.

The founder of the brand, who now owns another line of perfumes, Jo Loves, sought to distance herself by declaring: “Today, after recent events, I would like to repeat that since 2006, I have had no commitments. in any capacity with Jo Malone London. It’s a brand that I sold to Estee Lauder in 1999 and left.

Mr. Boyega also criticized Disney after playing the character of Finn in films, including Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. He told GQ this month, “What I would say to Disney is don’t bring out a black character, market them to be a lot more important in the franchise than they are. and then push them to the side. ”

Jo Malone London is the latest in a series of brands to tackle race issues since the Black Lives Matter protests this year.

Food products, including PepsiCo’s Aunt Jemima line of bakery ingredients, are due to be renamed due to racial stereotypes, while Unilever’s TRESemmé hair care brand has temporarily pulled products from South African stores for a advertisement describing images of black hair as “frizzy and dull”.

Additional reporting by Leila Abboud in Paris

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