In 2017, Munroe Bergdorf, a biracial woman from the U.K., became the first trans model to serve as a spokesperson for the beauty brand L’Oréal UK.
It was a big moment for inclusion and it was certainly a huge moment for Bergdorf who excitedly shared the campaign on her social media.
But Bergdorf, who was 29 at the time, would only enjoy her new title for five days before it was stripped away from her.
L’Oréal decided to disassociate from her after a Facebook post calling out White people and their racism went viral.
“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more Yes ALL white people.
“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.
Until then stay acting shocked about how the world continues to stay f***** at the hands of your ancestors and your heads that remain buried in the sand with hands over your ears.”
I’m sure it was a tough pill for people to swallow, but I understand exactly where Bergdorf was coming from.
L’Oréal did not.
In a tweet, the announced to the world that they’d ended their partnership with Bergdorf stating that her comments were “at odds with our values.” Still, they assured consumers that the company was still committed to celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers in beauty.”
Fast forward to today, in the midst of the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others and the subsequent protests, L’Oréal thought it wise to jump in the conversation.
Earlier today, they shared an Instagram post in support and solidarity with the Black community.
When Bergdorf saw the message, she went clean off. And rightfully so.
Reposting L’Oréal’s same image, Bergdorf called the brand out for its hypocrisy.
“Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F*CK YOU @lorealparis. 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. I had to fend for myself being torn apart by the world’s press because YOU didn’t want to talk about racism. You even tried to get me to incriminate myself with pairing me up with your shady lawyers, when I had done NOTHING wrong. THAT is what you get for ‘speaking out’ when employed by @lorealparis. Racist snakes.
You do NOT get to do this. This is NOT okay, not even in the slightest.
I said just yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before RACIST AF brands saw a window of PR opportunity to jump on the bandwagon.
F*ck you. F*ck your ‘solidarity’. Where was my support when I spoke out? Where was my apology? I’m disgusted and writing this in floods of tears and shaking. This is gaslighting.
She’s exactly right. While we’re celebrating the brands who have spoken out on behalf of the Black community, we also have to recognize that this tactic is the popular thing to do right now. It’s good for business. In order to get a true sense of what a company stands for, we need to look at how they treat Black people in their employ–if they employ us at all. Good on Munroe for taking the time out to remind L’Oréal who they really are and why they will not be allowed to co-opt this movement and Black suffering for further financial gain.