British actor John Boyega on Tuesday said he had stepped down as brand ambassador for fragrance company Jo Malone, after he was replaced in an aftershave advertising campaign in China.
"I have decided to step down as Jo Malone’s global ambassador," Boyega, best known for playing stormtrooper Finn in the Star Wars sequels, wrote on his Twitter account.
Created in partnership with the London-born actor, the original commercial celebrated his personal story - featuring his hometown, and some of his riends and family. The commercial was reshot for the Chinese market using the actor Liu Haoran.
"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. 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," Boyega added.
The perfume brand responded on the social media platform, they "respect John’s decision and we wish him all the best." The company, which is owned by the Estee Lauder group, was earlier reported as saying that dropping him for the Chinese market was a "misstep".
Boyega’s move follows his criticism of the marketing of non-white characters in the latest Star Wars films and his outspoken support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In June, he made an emotional speech during a Black Lives Matter gathering in central London at the height of anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.
The killing highlighted the persistence of racism in the US society and beyond and sparked a global wave of emotion and outrage. The phenomenon has put some consumer brands under pressure to speak out regarding the stereotypes their products or commercials may convey, which has proven a difficult exercise.