Backlash

L’Oréal U.K. drops its 1st-ever transgender model after controversial Facebook post on ‘white privilege’

Just a week ago, L’Oreal U.K. announced the hiring of Munroe Bergdorf as the first-ever transgender woman to front one of the company’s campaigns. The move earned L’Orea praise for its commitment to diversity, but the goodwill was very short-lived. Just a week later, the cosmetics brand has decided to cut ties with the model, after The Daily Mail unearthed a Facebook post written in response to Charlottesville, calling on white people to “admit their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth.”

In the now deleted post, Bergdorf wrote, “Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this shit.” The explosive post caused several people on social media to call her out for what they considered “racist” views, with some even calling for a boycott of the brand until it disavowed the model — which subsequently happened on Friday morning, when L’Oreal officially cut ties with Bergdorf. Unsurprisingly, Bergdorf’s firing caused another backlash, with people claiming it was hypocritical for the company to fire the face of their diversity campaign for speaking out on diversity issues.

Bergdorf then stepped into the fray again, slamming The Daily Mail for taking her words out of context and berating L’Oreal for not addressing racism in the beauty industry and only caring about money. “Big brands are willing to profit from black women without standing up for them,” she told Buzzfeed News. “I’m not saying all white people are racist. What I’m talking about is social fact. White people are socially conditioned to be racist in the same way men are conditioned to be misogynistic. It’s society — what The Daily Mail has done is not only make me look like a hate preacher, but directed hate to me. I expected more from L’Oréal. But they appear to only care about brand. It speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the campaign.” L’Oréal then addressed the controversy in a statement to BuzzFeed News, saying that the company supports “diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion,” and that company officials believed the comments by Munroe Bergdorf were “at odds with those values.”

Read the full story at Buzzfeed.

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