British perfume brand Jo Malone London apologized to John Boyega for running an ad he made for them and replaced him with a Chinese actor.
Last year, Boyega was named the company’s first male ambassador.
The company remaked the personal video, which the Star Wars actor made in his hometown of London, for the Chinese market.
“We deeply apologize for what was a mistake in our area in the local implementation of the John Boyega campaign,”
Boyega Grace’s sister posted the Chinese version of the ad in response to Twitter.
Joe Malone London, owned by Estee Lauder, said re-shooting the ad was a “wrong move”, “painful” and “insulting”.
While the script for the aftershave commercial – which was originally conceived and directed by the British star – remained largely the same, he saw it replaced by another actor, Liu Haoran.
The original version, titled London Gent, shows Boyega walking with friends and family in Peckham, where he grew up, but they have also been removed for the Chinese public.
“Take this wrong step very seriously.”
In a statement received by The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Malone London said: “John is an amazing artist with great personal vision and direction. The concept of the film is based on John’s personal experience and should not be reproduced.
“Although we took immediate action and removed the local version of the campaign, we acknowledge that this is painful and that a violation has been caused,” it added.
“We respect John and support our partners and fans worldwide. We take this mistake very seriously and work together as a brand to make a better move forward.”
Both John Boyega and Joe Malone London contacted the BBC for comment.
Joe Malone sold his business to Estee Lauder in 1995 and remained as creative director until he left in 2006. She now owns Jo Loves.
This is not the first time Boyega has faced editing for the Chinese market.
Back in 2016, there was controversy when Disney unveiled a revised movie poster about Star Wars: The Force Awakens in China.
Boyega Finn’s new protagonist has been reduced in size compared to the original poster.
Earlier this month, the star called for an end to black actors “pushed aside” by film companies.
Screenwriters, actors and directors; including JK Rowling and Jordan Peele, also praised the 28-year-old for his emotional speech at the Black Lives Matter protest over the summer.
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