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.
Boyega took to Twitter to denounce the fragrance firm’s decision to use his ideas and replace him without his consent.
He stated 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 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.’
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.
This isn’t the first time Boyega has faced such racist treatment. In 2015, the Chinese poster for the new Star Wars film featured a much smaller version of his character Finn compared with the original.
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.’