L’Oreal re-hires black trans model after she revisits getting axed in 2017 over ‘racial violence of white people’ comments

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A transgender model fired by L’Oreal three years ago for commenting on the “racial violence of white people” has been rehired by the company after calling out their hypocrisy.

L’Oréal Paris rehired Munroe Bergdorf last week after the model blasted the beauty giant which “threw me to the wolves” when she was fired in 2017 only days after announcing the brand’s first ever transgender representative. Bergdorf slammed the company after a message supporting Black Lives Matter which declared that “speaking out is worth it.”

“Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F**K YOU @lorealparis,” Bergdorf tweeted.

“You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy. With no duty of care, without a second thought,” the 32-year-old transgender model and activist added with a screenshot of the L’Oréal message.

Bergdorf, who has now been added to the brand’s U.K. Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, was fired in 2017 after making history as L’Oréal’s first transgender model and the face of its U.K. campaign. In a social media post commenting on a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia which left one person dead and 19 others injured, Bergdorf wrote that white people must “admit their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth.”

“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,” the company said at the time.

“I said yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before RACIST AF brands saw a window of PR Opportunity,”  Bergdorf tweeted last week in a rebuke of the company. “Where was my support when I spoke out? I’m disgusted and writing this in floods of tears.”

Days later, the brand tucked tail and walked back the decision, with its new president Delphine Viguier announcing that she had an “honest, transparent and vulnerable” conversation with Munroe. She also revealed the brand would be donating to organizations that “support social justice and causes that are deeply personal to Munroe’s experiences.”

“Here is what I heard from her: Three years ago, Munroe felt silenced by a brand, L’Oreal Paris, that had the power to amplify her voice,” the L’Oreal Paris brand president said in a statement.

“While we both agree today that negative labels should not be used to define all individuals in any group, I understand much better the pain and trauma that were behind Munroe’s words back then and the urgency she felt to speak in defense of the black community against systemic racism,” she said.

 

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“I had an honest, transparent and vulnerable conversation with Munroe Bergdorf. We listened to each other and shared our feelings and perspectives on the situation with open hearts and minds. It was a powerful moment of human connection. Here is what I heard from her: 3 years ago, Munroe felt silenced by a brand, L’Oréal Paris, that had the power to amplify her voice. While we both agree today that negative labels should not be used to define all individuals in any group, I understand much better the pain and trauma that were behind Munroe’s words back then and the urgency she felt to speak in defense of the Black community against systemic racism. I regret the lack of dialogue and support the company showed Munroe around the time of the termination. We should have also done more to create a conversation for change as we are now doing. We support Munroe’s fight against systemic racism and as a company we are committed to work to dismantle such systems. Here is how we will move forward: As we stand united in our advocacy against all forms of racism, we will take action together. The L’Oréal Group is forming a UK Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board of voices inside and outside the company, who will influence and inform our action plan. I have invited Munroe to participate on this Board and thank her for graciously accepting. We will honor Munroe’s advocacy for both the Trans and Black communities. L’Oréal will be donating to associations that support social justice and causes that are deeply personal to Munroe’s experience. Speaking out is worth it, only if we are able to listen, learn and grow. We all want to contribute to a society in which everyone can live safely, peacefully and equally, and that begins with repairing relationships and moving forward together. I thank @munroebergdorf for her willingness to do this.” – Delphine Viguier – L’Oreal Paris Brand President Image credit: @lukenugentphotography

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“I regret the lack of dialogue and support the company showed Munroe around the time of the termination. We should have also done more to create a conversation for change as we are now doing,” Viguier added. “We support Munroe’s fight against systemic racism and as a company we are committed to work to dismantle such systems.”

The model tweeted that she is “looking forward to new beginnings and a new positive relationship with the L’Oreal team.”

“While what happened three years ago was extremely traumatic for me personally and professionally, sitting on a board to provide a voice and a champion for black, trans and queer voices in the beauty industry is important for me,” Munroe wrote.”It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oreal team.”

Soon after announcing that she had joined L’Oreal’s U.K. diversity board, Munroe told her Instagram followers that her account had “been flooded by white supremacists and transphobes who are angry about my L’Oréal appointment.”

“They can’t stand it and somehow see it as an affront to their identity, so they work to sabotage whatever I’m doing and break me down mentally,” Munroe wrote, claiming that “this happens every time something positive happens in my career.”

 

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Frieda Powers

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