"I promise this wouldn’t have happened on my watch."- Jo Malone to John Boyega
Jo Malone told today’s Lorraine of her ‘disgust’ at Jo Malone the brand’s treatment of actor John Boyega after he was replaced in an advert in China.
Jo, who sold the company in 1999 and left in 2006, said: “Firstly, I am so horrified and disgusted at what has been done to John. That’s why I’m sitting here. 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.”
She added: “From a personal level, I feel heartbroken by this and I feel like I don’t know where to turn.
“This has gone global. My name has been associated and it’s been done in my name, but also people think it’s me. 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.”
Jo explained: “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. 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. So 15 years I’ve had nothing… and the brand I started at the kitchen sink, there’s none of my spirit and my personality. And today I would say has nothing to do with me at all. At all.”
Jo continued: “I didn’t sell my name. I didn’t sell my life. I didn’t sell my dreams and aspirations. I didn’t fight for my life to sit here and live in this way. I will fight. I’ve fought many times in my life for my life. I am going to fight now for it back and my reputation and everything I believe in.”
Jo said: “I feel totally alone. I’ve reached out to no more than three people. I feel so humiliated. This man wasn’t using his image to just promote something - he brought his creativity. When you look at that video and you look through his eye being a child, that man brought his life story to people and to that brand and how dare somebody treat him – and he finds out he’s been replaced on social media. That’s the bit that really gets to me. It’s the fact they never spoke to him, they never considered for one minute what he would feel like. That for me is utterly despicable and it’s disgusting.
“I know apologies have been issued, but I’m sorry, this is somebody’s life. This is my life, this was his life. Don’t sit behind an apology and no one’s being human about this. And do you know what Jo Malone London, Estee Lauder corporation, this is your mess, clear it up.”
Lorraine read a statement from Estee Lauder, which clarified that Jo Malone left the company in 2006.
Jo responded: “9pm last night on Instagram? Six days I’ve been left to deal with this mess that’s theirs. I have to thank your viewers, people on Twitter, people who have just got behind and said do you know what Jo, we know the truth. This has gone global around the world – what am I supposed to do. ‘We clarify?’ I’m sorry. I find that insulting. No apology, no recognition that this was their mess and they need to clear up. On a human level, people make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, I get that. But when you make mistakes as a human being you clear up your own mess.
“If we are ever to see change in this country and this world people need to start taking responsibility.”
Jo said: “There were people in those meetings. I know those decisions would not have been taken by one person. There were a lot of people involved. I’d like to say down the camera, if there is someone watching this and you were in there and you knew it was wrong, you had a responsibility to speak out. To say, ‘Have we thought about this?’”
Asked what she would say to the Estee Lauder company: “I would use their own words for them. Their mission statement - ‘Bring the best to everyone we touch and be the best in everything we do.’ So what I would say to you, with your own words and your own culture and your own values, do what you say. Bring the best to this situation now and bring the best to everything you do and don’t ever, ever let it happen again.”