One Month On: The L’Oréal Controversy

Written by Beauty

Days after the twenty-nine-year-old transgender British model, Munroe Bergdorf, was hired to be the new face of L’Oréal, appearing in the recent #allworthit campaign with Cheryl Cole and Katie Piper, she was dropped for posting a rant on Facebook proclaiming that “all white people are racist.” L’Oréal declared on 1 September 2017 that they champion diversity, and sacked Bergdorf due to her having odds with their values. She clapped back with her statement that, “I stand for tolerance and acceptance – but neither can be achieved if we are unwilling to discuss why intolerance and hate exists in the first place.”

Bergdorf writes about how she has experienced discrimination as a transgender woman of colour. She discusses that even though society is trying to empower and include women of all colours, shapes and sizes, it is still widely believed that people with a “lighter skin tone” have more social privileges than the rest of the world. And whether we like it or not, this statement is proven to be true. White supremacy is still a phenomenon that seriously needs to be addressed.

The New Progressive produced a chart showing that “a black college student has the same chances of being employed as a white high school drop out,” and that “white women make seventy-eight cents for every $1 a man makes,” supporting Bergdorf’s stand against ongoing white supremacy. However, stating that “all” white people are racist is something of an overestimate, but on Good Morning Britain, Bergdorf calmly declared, “I don’t regret what I said.” Bergdorf is ready for society’s controversies and she is ready to fight back. The news resulted in mixed reactions, being viewed as either a vindication or an affirmation of racism.

Stating that the model was transgender has no relation as to why she was fired, and is irrelevant to the issue of her social media squabble. Everyone has their opinion – is it fair that Bergdorf was fired for voicing hers? Some people may support L’Oréal’s decision to sack her on the basis of her Facebook rant, as it shows that they take their campaigns, and who they want to represent their brand, very seriously.

Bergdorf simply stated her opinion on social media, just the same as everyone else. However, her position as the face of L’Oréal’s campaign aiming to boost the confidence of the younger generation left her open to being targeted, and accused of being racist – if she were just another woman having a rant on social media she wouldn’t have been fired. Having said that, it’s important to take into consideration that L’Oréal’s decision to sack Bergdorf, the face of their campaign, proves they’re willing to make these tough choices and accept the consequences of these drastic actions

Since the controversy, Illamasqua has signed Bergdorf on a new beauty campaign stating that they “stand proudly and unashamed for diversity and equality … [believing that] Bergdorf’s comments have been edited out of context.”

Last modified: 16th October 2017

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