Nigerian-British actor, John Boyega, has taken to his twitter account to announce he has stepped down from his role as the global ambassador for perfume and scented candle brand, Jo Malone. His decision to do this as he states follows Jo Malone’s decision to replace him in the award-winning ‘London Gent’ campaign with another ambassador in China for the same campaign. John Boyega further explains that he had conceptualised and written the original campaign to celebrate his personal story, only to not be carried along in the process of substituting him for another in the campaign.
In the campaign footage, you can see the camera take you through a form of memory wheel with John Boyega being the centre of the series of events. You can see his hometown, friends and family and at some point, some parts of his culture; the ordinary viewer can tell that this is a sentimental project.
Jo Malone has since offered an apology in a statement saying:
“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign. 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.”
John Boyega through time and very much recently been very outspoken about the poor treatment of people of colour in the entertainment industry. It isn’t the first time his role has been downplayed in campaigns especially in the Chinese market, back in 2015, his image on the promotional poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was significantly reduced. The public continues to applaud him for speaking up especially through these times when issues of diversity are on the rise.
People online have come forward to express how distasteful they find the situation, some have placed the original ad and the reshoot side by side for comparison.
John Boyega came up with the idea for the ad, directed the short film himself, used personal experiences as the basis, so they ripped off his creative ideas and reshot his original film virtually shot-for-shot for the Chinese market!
Edit: Original left – Reshoot right. pic.twitter.com/IuQiQjxH50
— Samuel Akinosho® (@Samuel0X_) September 15, 2020