Makeup brand L’Oréal made the waves in the news this week after it hired Munroe Bergdorf to represent the company as its first transgender model. L’Oréal has since fired her for making racist comments on social media.
Both the brand and Bergdorf received considerable coverage in the press for their latest campaign in the UK, which was designed to be attractive and inclusive to transgender and non-white women. However, the company soured on the model after she posted decidedly unattractive and uninclusive remarks about white people.
On Thursday, the UK’s Daily Mail published details of statements Bergdorf had written on her public-facing Facebook page following the events in Charlottesville, Va. The transgender model, who appeared alongside Cheryl Cole and Katie Piper, called out the “racial violence” of white people.
“Honestly, I don’t have energy to talk about racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people,” she wrote (emphasis is Bergdorf’s). “Because most of ya’ll don’t even realize or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of color. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this shit.”
“Come see me when you realize that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege,” she continued. “Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth … then we can talk.”
Many of its customers expressed anger at her blanket statements about white people and took their complaints directly to the company. Following considerable outrage, L’Oréal dropped the model.
The company scrubbed Bergdorf’s campaign from its official YouTube page and severed all ties to her. It also released a statement.
“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 lashed out against L’Oréal, as well as the Daily Mail, for calling out her rant. She claims that her words were “taken out of context.” In a Facebook post, Bergdorf demanded L’Oréal address the underlying reasons for why people like her are underrepresented in the fashion industry.
Websites like BuzzFeed, The Fader and The Independent are now calling for Bergdorf to claim that L’Oréal’s decision to fire her is proof of the existence of white supremacy.