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British perfume brand apologises to John Boyega for replacing actor in Chinese version of advert


John Boyega

British perfume brand, Jo Malone, has apologised to John Boyega after cutting him out of the Chinese version of a cologne commercial he helped to create.

Jo Malone London said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that the ad, designed for Chinese audiences, was a misstep and has been removed.

The recreated ad had replaced black actor Boyega, who shot to fame with his role in Star Wars, with Chinese star Liu Haoran.

The new ad kept major elements of the script of the first but replaced Boyega with local actor Liu Haoran (star of the hugely popular Detective Chinatown film franchise).

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The Hollywood Reporter stated that Boyega — who conceived and directed the first film — wasn’t made aware of the new commercial’s production, and only found out after it was put on Twitter.

“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” Jo Malone London said in a statement sent to THR.

“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.”

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The company said it also apologized to Haoran, who was not involved in the “concepting” of the campaign.

“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that an offence 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.”

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It’s not the first time Boyega has been deleted from a China-based ad.

He played a leading role as Finn in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but he and other non-white characters were removed or diminished from a Chinese poster for the movie.

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