Jo Malone’s “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,” Boyega tweeted Monday evening, continuing: “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 company apologized over the weekend in a statement sent to the Hollywood Reporter, referring to the Chinese market version as “a mistake” and admitting that Boyega’s vision “should not have been replicated.” The 28-year-old actor joined the brand last year as its first male global ambassador, he noted on Twitter, adding that the campaign launched with the short he created had won an industry award.
This is the latest high-profile instance of Boyega advocating for himself. His British GQ interview made waves this month after he criticized the way his character’s story line was handled in the Star Wars sequel trilogy — the sort of candor that is a rarity for franchise actors. Finn, a former Stormtrooper, figured prominently in 2015′s “The Force Awakens” but was sidelined in the next two films in favor of characters like Rey and Kylo Ren, both played by White actors (Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver).
“You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything,” Boyega said. “[But] what I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”
In that same interview, Boyega commented on how being Black led to a unique experience on the franchise, which he wrapped work on with last year’s “The Rise of Skywalker.” None of his castmates “had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience.”
“But yet people are surprised that I’m this way,” he continued. “That’s my frustration.”
Boyega’s outspokenness extends beyond his work. After the killing of George Floyd, the actor was filmed speaking at a June protest in London’s Hyde Park, shouting to the crowd, “I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing.” In a part of his speech that went viral, he noted, “I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f— that.” Directors including Jordan Peele, Edgar Wright and Cathy Yan rallied behind him, joining an outpouring of support on social media.
In his Twitter thread on the Jo Malone incident, Boyega wrote that it would be “dealt with swiftly.”
“I don’t have time for nonsense,” he stated. “We press on and strong.”