Perfume brand says cutting black actor off commercials was a misstep

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British perfume brand Jo Malone apologizes to black actor John Boyega for “Star Wars” fame after cutting him off from Chinese version of cologne commercial he has helped to create

NEW YORK – British perfume brand Jo Malone has apologized to black actor John Boyega for “Star Wars” fame after cutting him off from Chinese version of an ad for an eau de cologne he he had helped to create.

Jo Malone London said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that the advertisement designed for Chinese audiences was a misstep and has been removed. The recreated ad replaced Boyega with Chinese star Liu Haoran.

“The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been reproduced,” he said.

Jo Malone and her parent company, Estée Lauder, did not respond to requests for comment emailed on Sunday. Boyega and his representatives could not be reached for comment either.

The original commercial featuring Boyega aired last year and was called “The London Gent”. It features the London-born actor walking around the neighborhood where he grew up and riding a horse in a park, and references his Nigerian heritage in a scene featuring West African clothing.

This isn’t the first time Boyega has been removed from a China-based ad. He played a leading role as Finn in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” in 2015, but he and other non-white characters were removed or diminished from a Chinese poster for the film.

Boyega has spoken out against Hollywood racism, telling GQ recently that black characters have been “pushed aside” in Disney’s “Star Wars” franchise.


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