L’Oreal has dropped its first transgender model Munroe Bergdorf (pictured) from its UK campaign #allworthit, following her comment about “ALL white people” being racially violent.
In a Facebook post that has been deleted, Bergdorf commented that she “[doesn’t] have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more”, adding “Yes ALL white people”, according to multiple media reports from Reuters, the New York Times, The Straits Times and BBC. Bergdorf was initially brought on board as one of the five new faces to represent the five new shades of L’Oreal’s True Match foundation.
Following this incident, L’Oreal tweeted that it “champions diversity” and has decided to end its partnership with Bergdorf as her comments were “at odds with our values”.
L’Oréal champions diversity. Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her.
— L’Oréal Paris UK (@LOrealParisUK) September 1, 2017
Bergdorf went on Facebook once again to clarify her statement, saying that it was taken out of context and that it was meant as “a direct response to the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville”. She was also “addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a system rooted in white supremacy”.
She added that when a transgender woman of colour who has been chosen to front a brand campaign that fights discrimination and lack of diversity in the beauty industry, speaks on the her life experiences of being discriminated against, the brand cannot simply say her thoughts are “in line with the ethics of the brand”.
Bergdorf also said that companies need to “actively work to dismantle the source of what created this discrimination and division in the first place”, instead of cashing in just because they realise there is money to be made from people of colour who have darker skin tones.
Netizens on Twitter have criticised L’Oreal for claiming to champion diversity but firing Bergdorf for speaking out against systemic racism. Some also stated they were going to boycott the brand. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo has also come out in support of Bergdorf. In an Instagram post, Amfo said “If she’s not ‘worth it’ anymore, I guess I’m not either. #IStandWithMunroe”.