Jo Malone 'humiliated' after brand cuts John Boyega from advert

‘It’s been done in my name and people think it’s me’: Jo Malone says she feels ‘humiliated’ as she slams perfume brand she founded for ‘despicable and disgusting’ move to axe Star Wars actor John Boyega from China advert

  • Jo Malone ‘humiliated’ after brand she founded cut John Boyega from advert 
  • The Star Wars actor directed and starred in advert for London Gent fragrance 
  • But Jo Malone London cut him out of the Chinese version of the commercial
  • Perfume company Jo Malone apologised to the black British star John Boyega
  • They had cut him out of an advert when it was remade for the Chinese market
  • Jo Malone has now apologised to Mr Boyega, saying it was a ‘mistake’ to try and replicate his personal experiences using a different actor

Jo Malone has said she feels ‘humiliated,’ after the perfume brand she founded made the ‘despicable and disgusting,’ move to cut John Boyega from a Chinese advert.

The Star Wars actor has stepped down from his role as a global ambassador for Jo Malone London after the company cut the black actor from the Chinese version of an aftershave advert he helped create.

Jo Malone today distanced herself from the brand, which is now owned by Estee Lauder, saying she sold it in 1999 and left the brand altogether in 2006.

The 56-year-old said she has been left ‘to deal with the mess,’ following the huge criticism that came with Boyega’s removal.

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine today, she said: ‘It’s been done in my name, but also people think it’s me. The brand that I started at that kitchen sink bears none of my spirit and personality and today I would say has nothing to do with me at all.’

The entrepreneur and cancer survivor explained how the backlash had impacted her, saying: ‘I didn’t sell my dreams and aspirations and I didn’t fight for my life to sit here and live in this way

‘I will fight, I have fought many times in my life, for my life, and I’m going to fight for it back, for my reputation and everything that I believe in.

‘I feel totally alone, first of all, I’ve reached out to no more than three people, I feel so humiliated.’

Jo Malone London has apologised to John Boyega, pictured at a BLM protest in London in June, for cutting him out of an advert when it was remade for the Chinese market

Boyega, 28, said the fragrance firm’s decision was ‘wrong,’ writing on Twitter that while he accepted companies use different representatives around the world, ‘dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone’.

Jo Malone London had earlier apologised after removing Boyega, best known for playing Finn in the Star Wars films, from the advert, which has since been removed.

In a statement announcing he was stepping down from his ambassadorial role, Boyega said: ‘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. The film celebrated my personal story- showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.

‘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.’ 

The British star came up with the idea for the original advert, which shows him enjoying time with his friends and family where he grew up in Peckham, south London.

Jo Malone has distanced herself from the brand she founded, saying she was ‘humiliated,’ by its decision to cut John Boyega from a Chinese advert

The Star Wars actor, 28, said the fragrance firm’s decision was ‘wrong,’ writing on Twitter that while he accepted companies use different representatives around the world, ‘dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something I can condone’

Mr Boyega also directed the advert, based around his personal experiences, for the scented candle brand, titled London Gent.

But in China the advert was recast without any black actors.

Instead it features Chinese actor Liu Hoaran in Mr Boyega’s starring role.

Boyega, who has also starred in Detroit and Attack the Block, only discovered about his removal on social media, something Jo Malone herself said was ‘utterly despicable and disgusting’.

She added: ‘I know apologies have been issued, but I’m sorryx, this is someone’s life. 

‘This is my life, this is his life.

‘Don’t sit behind an apology, no one’s being human about this. Jo Malone London, Estee Lauder corporation, this is your mess clear it up.’

Jo Malone London has apologised to Mr Boyega, saying it was a ‘mistake’ to try and replicate his personal experiences using a different actor.

The company said in a statement: ‘We deeply apologise 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.’

Boyega in his Jo Malone London advert. In the Chinese version he was replaced by actor Liu Hoaran

The company said that while it ‘immediately took action’ and removed the local version of the campaign, ‘we recognise that this was painful and that offence was caused’.

It added: ‘We respect John, and support our partners and fans globally. We are taking this misstep very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.’

Mr Boyega, who is a global ambassador for Jo Malone, did not know about the recasting of the Chinese advert and only found out about it on Twitter, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The actor has previously said of the advert: ‘There are several people in this video that have either given me a place to stay in LA while I haven’t had one or just have been consistent in our friendship for years.

‘It’s about breaking free of the concept of ‘going back or returning to your roots’, but more about the roots existing with this new side of my life.’

All the black cast members were replaced when the advert was recast and remade for the Chinese audience

Liu Hoaran gazing at a bottle of perfume in the Chinese version of the advert John Boyega originally conceived for the brand

Mr Boyega, 28, also directed the advert, based around his personal experiences, for the scented candle brand, titled London Gent

He has been minimised in Chinese marketing material before. In 2015, the Chinese poster for the new Star Wars film featured a much smaller version of his character Finn compared with the original.

The actor has recently spoken out about the racism he experienced after taking the Star Wars role.

Referring to a social media campaign to boycott the films because of his casting, he said: ‘I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race… it makes you angry with a process like that.’

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