Prominent model and activist, Munroe Bergdorf, has publicly criticized L’Oréal Paris for what she perceives as a calculated exploitation of the current racial justice movement in the United States for public relations gain.
Bergdorf’s outspoken response was triggered by L’Oréal’s recent social media post expressing solidarity with the black community during ongoing racial justice protests across the U.S. The brand’s statement read, «L’Oréal Paris stands in unwavering support of the Black community, firmly opposing all forms of injustice. We are making a commitment to collaborate with the @naacp to drive progress in the fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter.»
It’s noteworthy that in 2017, Bergdorf made history as the first transgender model to represent L’Oréal, featuring prominently in their latest beauty campaign. However, this partnership quickly soured when Bergdorf made online remarks about institutional racism. At the time, L’Oréal publicly terminated their collaboration with her, citing that her comments were «inconsistent with our brand values.»
Responding to L’Oréal’s recent declaration of support, Bergdorf took to her social media platforms to express her profound anger and frustration. On Twitter, she passionately stated, «I apologize for my language, but I am profoundly infuriated. F*CK YOU @lorealparis. In 2017, you dropped me from a campaign and left me exposed for speaking out against racism and white supremacy, showing no responsibility or empathy.»
Bergdorf went on to highlight the severe backlash she endured from the media and the public following L’Oréal’s decision to sever ties with her. She questioned the sincerity of the brand’s recent stance, declaring, «You cannot do this without accountability. This is entirely unacceptable.»
She added, «I predicted that brands with a history of racial insensitivity would seize a PR opportunity. I am disgusted by your ‘solidarity’. Where was my support when I needed it? I am writing this through tears of frustration.»
Bergdorf received an outpouring of support, including from renowned writer and fashion consultant, Aja Barber, who sharply criticized L’Oréal’s apparent opportunism.
«When you dismiss a black individual for speaking out against white supremacy, and then later post about it on social media three years later, it reeks of insincerity. It appears as though you are trying to profit from the suffering of black individuals in the streets.»
As of the latest update, L’Oréal has not issued a public response to Bergdorf’s tweets. In a subsequent Instagram statement, Bergdorf continued to chastise the company for their silence and reluctance to engage with the black community and their allies, who expressed concerns on L’Oréal’s recent social media posts.
«[L’Oréal’s] decision to ignore my voice speaks volumes. Their refusal to engage with the numerous members of the black community and allies who have voiced their concerns on their last two posts, despite claiming to support the black community, is evident. This stands in stark contrast to their history of avoiding discussions about the challenges faced by black individuals worldwide due to white supremacy.»