John Boyega has stepped down from his role as a global ambassador for perfume brand Jo Malone after the company cut the black actor from the Chinese version of an aftershave advert he helped create.

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’.

Jo Malone 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.

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'

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’

Jo Malone has apologised to the black British star John Boyega for cutting him out of an advert when it was remade for the Chinese market

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

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

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.

Jo Malone has now 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's advert, which he directed and appeared in, featured him riding a white horse

Boyega’s advert, which he directed and appeared in, featured him riding a white horse

By the time the advert reached screens in China, a local actor replaced the Star Wars actor

By the time the advert reached screens in China, a local actor replaced the Star Wars actor

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.’

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.’

source: dailymail.co.uk

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