Jo Malone tells of 'disgust' at former company's treatment of John Boyega

Watch: Jo Malone discuss how HORRIFIED she is over the treatment of John Boyega by her former company

Jo Malone has told of her disgust at her former company’s treatment of John Boyega, assuring the Star Wars actor: “This wouldn’t have happened on my watch.”

The perfumer spoke out following Boyega’s decision to step down as a global ambassador for the perfume brand after it cut him from the Chinese version of an aftershave ad he helped create.

Malone, who sold the company to Estee Lauder in 1999 and left in 2006, gave an interview on ITV’s Lorraine in which she said she was “so horrified and disgusted at what has been done to John”.

File photo dated 15/03/18 of John Boyega, who said he does not want to "work in fear" when he is in the US as he addressed the unrest that has been triggered by the death of a black man during a police arrest.
John Boyega (PA)

“That’s why I’m sitting here,” she said. “If people like me never speak out, things will never change, things will never be different and people will continue to go through these things.”

Read more: John Boyega slams Disney over sidelining his character

Malone told host Lorraine Kelly that she felt “heartbroken” about the situation.

“My name has been associated and it’s been done in my name, but also people think it’s me,” she said. “Lorraine, you know me, you’ve known me a long time. There is nothing in this, nothing that resembles me. Nothing of my spirit.

“If I’d been standing there in those shoes, I promise you John this would never have happened.”

She went on: “I didn’t sell my name. I sold a business and people do that all across the world.

“This is a big lesson to everybody, when you sell your business with your name, there are responsibilities.

Entrepreneur Jo Malone after being made a CBE at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.
Jo Malone after being made a CBE at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London (PA)

“It’s a bit like children, they’re with you for life. You both have a responsibility. I sold in 1999. I stayed for five years, went through cancer treatment, came out a different person and left in 2006.

“I left, I exited, had nothing more to do with it.”

The ad, which Boyega wrote, directed and starred in, was shot in London.

It was re-shot for broadcast in China, with Chinese actor Liu Haoran replacing Boyega.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA - DECEMBER 16: Actor John Boyega arrives at the World Premiere Of Disney's 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' held at the El Capitan Theatre on December 16, 2019 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Sipa USA)
John Boyega (Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Sipa USA)

Jo Malone did apologise, saying 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.

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

However, the London-born actor decided to step down from his role as an ambassador for the brand.

He said in a statement: “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.

“The film celebrated my personal story – showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.

Read more: John Boyega has ‘moved on’ from Star Wars

“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.”

Lorraine is on ITV, weekdays from 9am.

Watch: Jo Malone apologizes to John Boyega after cutting him from Chinese perfume ad