Munroe Bergdorf hit headlines last week when she expressed her distaste for the systematic injustice that has been occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, where right wing protestors clashed with anti-racism activists. It is alleged that the model took her frustration in regard to the racial violence of white people online, writing: ‘Most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour.’
1However, these comments have since been deleted. Her views were taken out of context by the Daily Mail, tarnishing her respectability in the eyes of L’Oréal who saw no other option but to let her go from their campaign.
This has sparked outrage as Munroe was the perfect fit for L’Oréal’s #allworthit campaign, as a black trans woman she celebrates the diversity of the modern woman. However, the official tweet from L’Oréal Paris UK claims that ‘L’Oréal champions diversity. Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her’. This has received a backlash due to the hypocrisy, with the hashtag #boycottloreal surging in popularity online. The public previously embargoed L’Oréal as the company received criticism due to their unfavourable use of animal testing. Despite owning cruelty free brands such as Urban Decay and NYX Cosmetics, it appears that the company has now become synonymous with its controversy and making headlines for the wrong reasons. Given this recent event, it’s not exactly ideal for the company’s credibility.
We have seen Radio 1 presenter and L’Oréal True Match campaign model Clara Amfo side with Bergdorf amidst the outrage. Taking to Instagram, Amfo posted ‘She has now been dropped from the campaign because L’Oréal feel that she is “at odds with our values”…. if she’s not ‘worth it’ anymore, I guess I’m not either. #IStandWithMunroe”’. However, Munroe was ‘worth it’ until she spoke out about racism and white supremacy. L’Oréal wanted her for what her identity represents yet it appears that they have no intention in challenging what constantly threatens Munroe’s identity as a black trans woman.
Many have questioned why Bergdorf has been fired yet Cheryl, who was convicted of punching a black female toilet attendant in 2003, remains to represent L’Oréal. How is it fair that a woman has been fired due to calling out racism on a campaign that was meant to support diversity and empower women? This is an example of the white privilege so many face in our society and why it is ever more important that women such as Munroe speak out against this. We do not need companies capitalising on this injustice, instead, we should support each other in the fight for equality and cultivate the diversity in our society as a way to empower ourselves, because we are all indeed ‘worth it’.
[Katie McPeake – @s0nnymoore]