John Boyega, a Nigerian-British actor, has officially ended his ambassadorial contract with London cosmetics company Jo Malone, after being cut out of an advertisement he came up with, directed and starred in for the Chinese market,
Reports have it that in a recast and reshoot of the advertisement for the Chinese market, Boyega was replaced by Liu Haoran – a Chinese actor. The original advertisement titled “A London Gent”, showed Boyega strolling around Peckham, south London, riding a horse, dancing with friends and hanging out with his family. The advertisement featured a culturally diverse cast, while the Chinese remake had no black cast member.
Whilst responding to the development which has been condemned as systemic racism, John Boyega tweeted that the ad remake was done without his consent and that I will be dealt with. He added that it would be dealt with immediately because “doesn’t have time for nonsense.”
The Hollywood star tweeted:
In more tweets, he 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.
It’s back to back but I assure you this will be dealt with swiftly. I don’t have time for nonsense. We press on and strong. Stay blessed people.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, John Boyega was not informed by Jo Malone of the ad’s recasting and just found out about it on Twitter. Here’s the remade ad:
It is not the first time Boyega has been erased from Chinese marketing materials. The Chinese posters for Star Wars in 2015: Force Awakens ignited debate after fans discovered that Boyega’s character Finn was drastically reduced from the original poster.
The actor spoke out earlier this month about the systemic racism he endured in Star Wars during his time. He said to GQ,
“What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side.
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,” he added, referencing the racist Twitter campaign to boycott the franchise based on his casting.”
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