L’Oreal sacks transgender model over anti-racism remarks

02 Sep 2017


French cosmetics giant L'Oreal sacked its first transgender model to appear on a British advertising campaign after she described all white people as racist on Facebook.

Model Munroe BergdorfLondon-based model Munroe Bergdorf was fired just days after L'Oreal announced the partnership. Bergdorf had announced on her Facebook page on 27 August that she was to be part of the French cosmetics brand's new advertising campaign celebrating diversity.

Bergdorf received big buzz after L'Oreal announced her inclusion in a YouTube video ad for L'Oréal Paris True Match Foundation, but the excitement proved short-lived.

L'Oréal released a statement on Twitter Friday morning saying the company ''champions diversity'' but decided to cut ties with Monroe Bergdorf, saying her comments in the recent Facebook post are ''at odds'' with their values.

In an online message that appeared to have deleted later on Friday, Bergdorf said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper: ''Honestly I don't have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people.''

In a post on her page on Friday, Bergdorf criticized a Daily Mail article on the issue and sought to defend her comments, which she said were a reaction to the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville in the United States.

''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, prioritize and protect white people before anyone of any other race,'' she said.

The Daily Mail piece blasted Bergdorf over her comments, but observers highlighted how her words had been misrepresented and taken out of context, with some even suggesting that the story was a deliberate attempt to downplay Bergdorf entirely.

Bergdorf's now-deleted post further said, ''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.''

On Friday morning in the UK, many expressed outrage with L'Oréal's decision to denounce Bergdorf's message, saying it highlights the hypocrisy of the company claiming to be ''champions of diversity'' while only embracing inclusion for goals driven by profit and actively condemning Bergdorf, a black trans woman, for speaking out about racism ? an issue that impacts people of colour most.

This sentiment was echoed by Bergdorf, who released a statement with culture site gal-dem on Friday in response to L'Oréal's dismissal and pushed for a boycott of the company.

''This makeup brand cares about nothing but MONEY. I urge you to boycott L'Oréal Paris,'' she wrote. ''I can't express how disappointed I am in the entire team in dealing with misquotes that were entirely placed out of context.''

Bergdorf also blasted the Daily Mail for misrepresenting her message and explained that her post was a dated response to the white supremacists who recently rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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