John Boyega slams Jo Malone for replacing him in ad for China, steps down as global ambassador

Putin's fond memories
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

John Boyega is calling out "nonsense" from a British perfume brand as he resigns as its global ambassador.

The Star Wars star has announced he's stepping down as global ambassador for Jo Malone after it replaced him in the Chinese version of a commercial that he conceived and directed.

"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 tweeted.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

As the actor pointed out on Twitter, the original ad "celebrated my personal story — showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family." But in the version for China, a local actor, Liu Haoran, replaced Boyega, and no Black actors were featured, The Hollywood Reporter notes. Jo Malone London had previously issued an apology for "a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign," adding that "while we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused."

Boyega on Twitter wrote that "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," adding, "I don't have time for nonsense."

As Variety notes, this controversy over the Jo Malone ad came after Boyega's Star Wars character, Finn, appeared noticeably smaller on the Chinese version of the movie poster for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The actor, who in June delivered a passionate speech at a London Black Lives Matter protest, recently opened up in an interview with GQ about dealing with racism and criticized Disney for the way his Star Wars character was handled.

"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," Boyega told GQ. "It's not good."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.