“Their 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,” wrote Boyega, adding that the film celebrated his personal story and featured his family and friends.
“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,” he said.
The original version, titled “London Gent,” shows Boyega walking through Peckham, the London neighborhood where he grew up, riding a white horse alongside young people on bicycles and dancing at a party.
Jo Malone used similar visual elements in the advertisement featuring Liu.
Estée Lauder did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.
“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” Jo Malone London said. “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.”
Boyega also hit the headlines earlier in September for calling out Disney over its treatment of his “Star Wars” character Finn.
Finn, a former Stormtrooper, played an important role in the first movie of the latest iteration of the franchise, but then became more of a background character as the following films focused more on Rey and Kylo Ren, played by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.
CNN has contacted Disney for comment.
Boyega has been an important voice in the recent Black Lives Matter protests, making an emotional speech at a demonstration in London in June.
He told thousands of people marching in solidarity with protesters in the United States that now is the time to demand racial equality.
“Black lives have always mattered,” Boyega said at the rally. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting.”
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