L’Oréal has terminated its partnerships with its first transgender model after she spoke out about racism.
Munroe Berdorf, who was unveiled as one of the faces of the compant’s #YoursTruly True Match campaign last week alongside stars like Cheryl, Katie Piper and and Gary Thompson, had her contract terminated on Friday after saying that she “all” white people were complicit in racial violence.
The 29-year-old model and trans activist wrote on Facebook: “Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people.
“Because 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. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***.
“Come see me when you realise that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege.
“Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.
When I was growing up, transgender women – especially transgender women of colour had next to zero positive representation in the media and there was almost no information or understanding about us. If we were portrayed on television or in films, it was solely in tragic storylines or with our gender as the punchline of a joke. As an 8 year old, I remember watching the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring comedian Jim Carey, at a classmates house after school. Sorry to ruin the ending if you haven’t seen it (don’t bother), it ends in the movie’s villain being caught, stripped to her underwear and exposed as in fact ‘a man’. Then to add insult to injury, everyone in the room starts vomiting as they have all engaged in sex with her. This film was given a PG certificate. Imagine being eight years old, knowing that you’re transgender but not having the language to verbalise it and then seeing a scene like this including a trans person, played by a cis woman – it may see trivial to some but I carried that ‘punchline’ throughout my adolescence, it made me feel guilty and confused about who I truly was, so I pushed my true self into my subconscious and tried to be someone I was not. Fast forward two decades and I am so proud to be doing my bit for transgender visibility in the media. I’m by no stretch of the imagination a perfect person, but none of us are. However, I’m a whole person, with flaws, aspirations and interests. I’m often referred to a role model for the community, which annoys me because none of us need to be compared to each other. But I’m definitely down to be considered as a role option if anyone does see themselves in me or my story. Thank you L’Oréal for giving me this platform, I hope it reaches another little 8 year old trans girl and makes her feel a little more hopefull and a little less scared about her future, than what was installed in me when I was her age. The world is changing and I like how the world is changing. Because we are ALL worth it. #allworthit #yourstruly @lorealmakeup.
“Until then stay acting shocked about how the world continues to stay f***** at the hands of your ancestors and your heads that remain buried in the sand with hands over your ears.”
L’Oréal confirmed in a statement on Friday that they were cutting ties with Bergdorf in the wake of the remarks.
“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,” the company wrote on Twitter.
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.
— L’Oréal Paris UK (@LOrealParisUK) September 1, 2017
The company’s decision has widely criticised online, with many pointing out the hypocrisy of a brand that claims to champion diversity but sacks a transgender woman of colour for speaking out about racism.
Years & Years singer Olly Alexander was among those to call out the brand, writing: “L’Oréal champions profit and is a company that’s chosen to silence a PoC who’s dared to speak out about racism and her own lived experience.”
L’Oréal champions profit and is a company that’s chosen to silence a PoC who’s dared to speak out about racism and her own lived experienc
L’Oréal champions profit and is a company that’s chosen to silence a PoC who’s dared to speak out about racism and her own lived experience https://t.co/pEe8bBNkZZ
— olly 🌙 (@alexander_olly) September 1, 2017
Other users agreed.
“She was speaking about white supremacy and how racism is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy. This is absolutely shameful,” wrote one Twitter user.
Another added: “Firing a trans woman of colour because she spoke out about racism? Shameful. Reconsider.”
This is a huge mistake on your part guys. Firing a trans woman of colour because she spoke out about racism? Shameful. Reconsider.
— Tom [PositiveLad] (@PositiveLad) September 1, 2017
how can you claim to champion diversity and then fire her for speaking out against systemic racism??
— Hayley (@HixxiDustButt) September 1, 2017
You should be ashamed of that decision. You should have stood up for her. Nice to see you don’t actually care about diversity
— Alice Beggs 🌻 (@AliceBeggs) September 1, 2017
She was speaking about white supremacy and how racism is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy. This is absolutely shameful.
— Mia (@MiaIsDrunk) September 1, 2017
Attitude has approached Bergdorf for comment.