1:46 pm PDT 12/9/2020
The “Star Wars” actor has been replaced by Chinese star Liu Haoran.
Jo Malone London, the British perfume and scented candle brand, apologized to John Boyega – who was named his first global male ambassador last year – for the “crime” he caused when he filmed a personal video he made. for them they don’t just cut the file Star Wars actor entirely but did not feature a single black individual.
The new commercial, made for the Chinese market, kept the main elements of the script of the first, but replaced Boyega with local actor Liu Haoran (star of the hugely popular Detective Chinatown film franchise). The Hollywood Reporter realizes that Boyega ̵
“We deeply apologize for what, on our part, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” said Jo Malone London in a statement sent to THR. “John is an extraordinary artist with extraordinary personal vision and direction. The idea for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been replicated.”
The company said it also apologized to Haoran, who was not involved in the “conception” of the campaign.
“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that the crime was caused,” he added. “We respect John and support our partners and fans globally. We are taking this misstep very seriously and are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”
The original short – released last year and titled London Gent – showed Boyega on the streets of her hometown Peckham in London, hanging out and dancing with real-life friends and spending time with her family, who also appear. In one scene he rides a horse in a local park while others ride bicycles alongside.
We are thrilled to announce the participation of our Jo Malone London Gent film @JohnBoyega is the proud winner of The Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards 2020 for the best multimedia campaign. #ScentofAGent #TheFragranceFoundationAwards pic.twitter.com/rNZpTVXLB6
– Jo Malone London (@JoMaloneLondon) August 27, 2020
Talking with Women’s Wear Daily last year, Boyega said he used the campaign to highlight his background.
“There’s a mix of things you see me doing in the film, you see me in a professional setting on a movie set, then with family and it’s about breaking free from the concept of ‘going back or going back to your roots’, but more about existing roots with this new side of my life, “he said. “It is not a chapter that stops.”
The Chinese film being shot also sees Haoran hanging out with friends and even riding a horse in a park while others pass by on bicycles. But besides Boyega’s absence, the main obvious difference is that considering London Gent features a mix of ethnicities (Peckham is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the UK), the Chinese ad doesn’t include a single black person.
– Liu Haoran 刘 昊 然 Updates (@liuhaoran_intl) 1 September 2020
This isn’t the first time Boyega has come up against the apparent racism of the Middle Kingdom, where there have been several debates over alleged anti-black bias.
In 2015, Chinese posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens sparked the backlash online when fans noticed that Boyega’s character Finn had been significantly scaled down from the original poster, where he was the third-greatest character after Adam Driver’s Kylo Red and Daisy Ridley’s Rey.
Other non-white characters, including Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata and Chewbacca, were completely cut off.
And it’s not the first time a Chinese advertisement has been criticized. In 2016, a commercial for a local Qiaobi cleaner sparked global outrage after it appeared to show a black man being washed white.
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to John Boyega reps for comment.