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John Boyega sends powerful message after quitting brand over racist ad

"Dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone."
“Dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone.”
Image: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

John Boyega has taken a powerful stand after British fragrance company Jo Malone cut him out of a version of an advertisement he directed and starred in. 

The Star Wars actor has since stepped down from his role as global ambassador for the brand, calling the incident “not something I can condone.”

Boyega came up with the concept for the ad, a short film titled “A London Gent,” which showed him hanging out with friends and family in Peckham, London, where he grew up. 

The advert that was broadcast in China, however, was completely reshot and instead featured Chinese actor Liu Haoran. The format and concept of the ad remained largely the same, but any reference to Boyega was erased. Crucially, the Chinese version of the advert did not feature any Black people — a decision that smacks of racism while also stripping the short film of its original personal significance. 

Jo Malone London issued an apology after news of the reshot advert broke. “We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” the brand said in a statement sent to 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.” Jo Malone, the founder of the company, also issued a statement saying she has had nothing to do with the brand since 2006, after selling the company to Estée Lauder in 1999. 

Boyega subsequently announced his decision to step down as the perfume and candle brand’s global ambassador. “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,” he wrote on Twitter. “The film celebrated my personal story– showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.” 

He added that the company’s behaviour towards him is not something he can condone. 

True to form, Boyega finished his statement by stating he doesn’t have “time for nonsense”. 

Following Boyega’s announcement, Jo Malone London tweeted that it respects his decision and that the company “wish him all the best.” 

Again, I think the word you’re looking for is “sorry.” 

Source
Mashable.Com

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