Jo Malone global ambassador resigns after being replaced in ad with Chinese actor

Actor John Boyega has resigned as global ambassador for global perfume brand Jo Malone after being replaced by a Chinese actor for an ad he made in his home in London. The ad in which Boyega was replaced was for the Chinese market and was created without Boyega’s consent or prior notice. While the brand kept several major aspects of the ad the same, it simply replaced Boyega with local actor Liu Haoran.

Boyega put out a statement on his Twitter saying that while he understands many brands “understandably use a variety of global and local ambassadors, dismissively trading out one’s culture this way is not something [he] can condone".

Commenting on his resignation as the global ambassador, the brand said: “Boyega is an incredible talent, artist and person and we were proud to have him as part of our Jo Malone London family. We respect Boyega’s decision and we wish him all the best.”

Meanwhile, Jo Malone London also issued an official apology saying it was a “misstep”. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the brand said it took immediate action and “removed the local version of the campaign”. It also said it recognises “that this was painful and that offence was caused” and apologised to Liu who was not involved in the "concepting" of the campaign. "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,” the statement added.

On Twitter, netizens have condemned the brand calling it out for issues such as idea theft and asking more from its apology. This is not the actor’s first stint against racism. In 2015, posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw backlash from fans when Boyega’s character Finn had been significantly reduced in size from the original poster for the Chinese market.

Meanwhile, the representation of the Black community in the market also sparked global conversation and outrage when a 2016 ad for Qiaobi cleaning liquid saw a Black actor stuffed into a washing machine for a quick spin, following which he turns into a grinning Asian man.

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