Jo Malone 'deeply apologizes' to John Boyega for cutting him out of the Chinese version of a commercial he directed
- Perfume and candle brand Jo Malone London apologized to their global brand ambassador John Boyega after it reshot his personal advert for China.
- Boyega made an advert for Jo Malone last year that featured him connecting with his roots in Peckham, London, dancing with his friends and family and riding a horse.
- The Chinese video used the same concept as Boyega's but replaced Boyega with Chinese actor Liu Haoran and also replaced all of Boyega's friends and family, meaning not one black person featured in the Chinese advert.
- In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Jo Malone said: "The concept for the film was based on John's personal experiences and should not have been replicated."
Perfume and candle brand Jo Malone London has apologized to John Boyega after the personal advert he made for them was reshot for the Chinese market.
Boyega was last year named Jo Malone's first male global ambassador. The actor shot a personal advert for the company that featured his real-life friends and family and was set in his diverse hometown of Peckham, London.
However, the Chinese reshoot replaced Boyega with Chinese actor Liu Haoran and replaced all of Boyega's friends and family, too, meaning not one black person was included in the reshoot.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Jo Malone London said: "We deeply apologize 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 also directed the movie, named "A London Gent," and created its concept — which revolved heavily around Boyega's Peckham roots and showing Boyega enjoying time with his friends and family. One shot features Boyega riding a horse alongside his friends riding bikes.
The Chinese reshoot not only used this same shot in their film, but also reused the entire concept without Boyega's knowledge, The Hollywood Reporter reported. Both films feature the central character hanging out with friends and family, and start with a shot of the central character which then zooms into their eye as the film begins.
Boyega spoke to Women's Wear Daily last year when the advert was released and spoke about the film's personal connection to him: "There's a mixture of things you see me do in the film, you see me in a professional environment on a film set, then with family and 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."
In their statement, Jo Malone also apologized to Haoran, best known for "Detective Chinatown," and said he was not involved in the "concepting" of the Chinese video, which was also called "A London Gent."
Jo Malone continued: "While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused. 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."
Boyega previously faced similar apparent racism from China when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released. In the regular version of the movie's poster, Boyega's Finn was the third-largest character after Daisy Ridley's Rey and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren.
But in the Chinese poster for the film, he was greatly reduced to be one of the smallest characters on the poster with even droid BB-8 bigger than him. Plus, Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron and Lupita Nyong'o's Maz Kanata were removed entirely despite being prominent characters.
—Pete Sweeney (@petesweeneypro) September 14, 2020
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