Earlier this week, transgender model Munroe Bergdorf became the first trans woman to front a L’Oréal U.K. campaign.
Her dream has quickly come to an end as L’Oréal just announced it is ending its partnership with the activist/model.
The firing comes after a Facebook rant from Bergdorf in which she said that all white people are racist.
“Honestly, I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people,” she wrote.
“Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***.
“Come see me when you realise that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege.
“Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.”
L’Oréal U.K. said today in statement that Bergdorf’s comments were at odds with the company’s values, adding: “L’Oréal supports diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion.
“The L’Oréal Paris True Match campaign is a representation of these values and we are proud of the diversity of the ambassadors who represent this campaign.
“We believe that the recent comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with those values, and as such we have taken the decision to end the partnership with her.
“L’Oréal remains committed to celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers in beauty.”
Bergdorf has since urged people to boycott the brand, writing — on Facebook again — that she couldn’t be expected to star in a campaign about diversity without commenting about the lack of it in society.
“When I stated that ‘all white people are racist’, I was addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy – designed to benefit, prioritise and protect white people before anyone of any other race. Unknowingly, white people are SOCIALISED to be racist from birth onwards. It is not something genetic. No one is born racist,” she wrote.
She also criticized L’Oréal’s decision to let her go, adding: “So when a transgender woman of colour, who has been selected to front up a big brand campaign to combat discrimination and lack of diversity in the beauty industry, speaks on her actual lived experience of being discriminated against because of her race and identifies the root of where that discrimination lies – white supremacy and systemic racism – that big brand cannot simply state that her thoughts are not ‘in line with the ethics of the brand.’
“The irony of all this is that L’Oréal Paris invited me to be part of a beauty campaign that ‘stands for diversity.’ If L’Oreal truly wants to offer empowerment to underrepresented women, then they need to acknowledge THE REASON why these women are underrepresented within the industry in the first place.”
The situation has blown up on Twitter, with several people defending Bergdorf and labeling L’Oréal “trash”.
If you can’t handle an open and honest conversation abt racism, you probably should stop using the word “diversity” https://t.co/R231vt34Cd
— Zing Tsjeng (@misszing) September 1, 2017
L’Oreal are trash for this. You cannot exploit a black trans woman for PR brownie points then turn your back when she speaks out on racism https://t.co/19CViHQHLD
— arenike a (@arenikea) September 1, 2017
So, is L’Oréal in the wrong? Or are they in the right?
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