Actor John Boyega has announced that he will sever all commercial and professional ties he had had with Jo Malone after the perfume company controversially replaced the African American actor with a local actor in the advertisements aiming the Chinese market.
Although one may be tempted to dismiss the complaints as a tantrum from a Hollywood star, the reality is much more complex than that. This is mainly because Boyega played a big role in creating the short film from its inception stages, only to be replaced for the Chinese commercials.
The “Star Wars” star pointed out this aspect in his Twitter post in which he expressed great disappointment in Jo Malone for editing his work without any consulting or notifying him in advance. Boyega said that the film reflected many personal aspects of his life, making it his story.
He continued by saying he understood why global brands hire and work with local brand ambassadors for each region. At the same time, Boyega emphasized that those discussions should have been an open and communicative one, not an one-way decision by the brand like this case.
Even a quick glimpse into the film “London Gent” shows how poor Jo Malone’s decision was. Not only does it include very specific cultural meanings and symbols such as white horses, the perfume brand themselves had advertised how Boyega casted each of the actors involved.
In other words, the brand still went on ahead to take what is personal to its ambassador and tried to edit that to their taste. When asked about the whole debacle by the American media, Jo Malone admitted that the decision was a mistake.
Their admission of fault is likely why the brand said it accepts Boyega’s resignation as an ambassador and wished him well. Saying that they were proud to work alongside with him, the London branch of the Estee Lauder-owned brand bid Boyega well.
To any fans who have been keeping up with the British actor, this action would not have been a surprise. Earlier this month, Boyega had panned Disney executives for overselling his character in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy.
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