Three Years Later, L’Oréal Paris Apologises To The Trans Model They Fired
L’Oréal Paris has rehired Munroe Bergdorf after the model called the company’s recent Black Lives Matter Instagram post hypocritical and a form of “gaslighting.” Bergdorf called for customers to boycott the brand as it was not supportive nor inclusive.
On Tuesday morning, Delphine Viguier, the president of L’Oreal Paris, shared that she had personally reached out to Bergdorf to talk. In her statement, Viguier shared,
We had an open and constructive conversation, she listened to what I had to say and expressed her regret for how the situation was handled three years ago.”
This comes after Bergdorf took to her Twitter page to call out the brand for posting about solidarity with those protesting in the #BlackLivesMatter movement after they dropped her from a campaign back in 2017. Bergdorf was L’Oreal’s first transgender model chosen as the face of the French company’s diversity initiative. However, after her appointment, the brand dropped her for posting on her personal Facebook page against the aftermath of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
Excuse my language but I am SO angry. FUCK 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. pic.twitter.com/nnBfiP5Oqg
— Black Lives Matter ✊🏾 (@MunroeBergdorf) June 1, 2020
After failing to acknowledge her tweets and posts, Bergdorf went on to tweet about L’Oréal Paris once more, saying that she wanted to give the brand time to apologise for what they subjected her to. However, after waiting for three days, she said,
“Their choice to ignore me & not acknowledge the emotional, mental & professional harm that they caused me since sacking me in 2017 after speaking out about white supremacy & racism, speaks volumes.”
But their choice to ignore me & not acknowledge the emotional, mental & professional harm that they caused me since sacking me in 2017 after speaking out about white supremacy & racism, speaks volumes.
— Black Lives Matter ✊🏾 (@MunroeBergdorf) June 3, 2020
Referencing Bergdorf’s tweet, in her statement, Viguier went on to acknowledge how L’Oréal Paris silenced Munroe when the brand “had the power to amplify her voice” instead.
“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.”
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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
Viguier shared her regret over the “lack of dialogue and support the company showed” Bergdorf. As such, they’ve announced plans to advocate for the trans and Black communities as well as to donate to causes that support social justice and are personal to Bergdorf’s experience. Bergdorf will sit on L’Oréal’s newly-created UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board to consult with, influence and inform the beauty brand while giving a voice to “black, trans and queer voices in the beauty industry”. In relation to this, Bergford shared,
“I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to practise what I preach and take up that seat at the table to be the representation that we deserve as a community. I believe in accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges. While what happened 3 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 to me.
L’Oréal has pledged to donate to Mermaids, a U.K. charity supporting transgender youth, and UK Black Pride, an annual event for LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent.
Munroe also posted the set of images on her Instagram and on Twitter, thanking her supporters and sharing her hopes for her time with L’Oréal,
Thank you everyone for having my back with this matter over the past three years, it hasn’t been easy. Looking forward to new beginnings and a new positive relationship with the L’Oreal team.”
Bergdorf has proven that speaking out really is worth it.