L’Oréal rehires Black trans model Munroe Bergdorf after backlash over support for Black Lives Matter

In Munroe's words, 'accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges'.
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  • L'Oréal has rehired Munroe Bergdorf, the Black trans woman who they fired in 2017 for speaking out on white supremacy.

    The model was dropped from a campaign nearly three years ago, after commenting on white privilege, following the white supremacist and neo-Nazi rallies that took place that year in Charleston, US.

    Following L’Oréal’s public support of the Black Lives Matter movement last week, Munroe criticised the brand for ‘throwing her to the wolves’ when they fired for speaking out over the very same issues – and many of the brand’s fans also voiced their disapproval for their ‘sanctimonious’ actions.

    Now, the company’s new president Delphine Viguier has apologised to Munroe and announced the model will be joining the L’Oréal’s UK diversity and inclusion advisory board.

    Munroe spoke out on her social media pages about the new appointment, saying she believes in “accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges”.

    She also wrote, ‘While what happened three 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 for me.

    ‘It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oreal team.’

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    L’Oréal also shared VP Delphine’s statement on their Instagram page, where she explained that she regrets how the situation was handled in 2017, and committed the brand fight against systemic racism.

    View this post on Instagram

    “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

    A post shared by L'Oréal Paris Official (@lorealparis) on

    ‘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.’

    L’Oréal will also be donating to ‘associations that support social justice and causes that are deeply personal to Munroe’s experience’.

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