Munroe Bergdorf re-partners with L'Oréal following Black Lives Matter dispute
Fans stood with the model as #IStandWithMunroe began trending online
By Clodagh Meaney
Munroe Bergdorf has partnered with L'Oréal as a Diversity and Inclusion advisor after two very public spats with the French beauty brand.
In 2017, the brand dropped her from a make-up campaign after she spoke out against white supremacy and racism, following which, the #IStandWithMunroe movement began.
Last week the brand posted an image to their social media reading: "Speaking out is worth it," their post read, in reference to their marketing slogan "You're worth it."
Taking to Instagram Munroe then shared their post and rightfully called them out on their hypocrisy after they fired her for doing that exact thing.
"Excuse my language but I am SO angry. FUCK YOU @lorealparis", the post began.
"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." "I had to fend for myself being torn apart by the world's press because YOU didn't want to talk about racism. You even tried to get me to incriminate myself with pairing me up with your shady lawyers, when I had done NOTHING wrong. THAT is what you get for 'speaking out' when employed by @lorealparis," she wrote adding: "racist snakes." "I said just yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before RACIST AF brands saw a window of PR opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. Fuck you. Fuck your 'solidarity'. Where was my support when I spoke out? Where was my apology? I'm disgusted and writing this in floods of tears and shaking." "This is gaslighting," she added.
48 hours after her original post, Munroe once again called out the brand for not acknowledging her "emotional, mental and professional harm" and making an apology. "I wanted to give @lorealparis 48 hours before writing this to see if a public apology was possible," her second post began. "But their choice to ignore me and not acknowledge the emotional, mental and professional harm that they caused me since sacking me in 2017, after speaking out about white supremacy and racism, speaks volumes."
"So does their choice not to engage with the thousands of black community members and allies who have left comments of concern on their last two posts, in response to their claim to support the black community, despite an evident history of being unwilling to talk about the issues that black people face globally because of white supremacy," she said.
"Black Lives Matter is a movement for the people, by the people. It is not here to be co-opted for capital gain by companies who have no intention of actually having difficult conversations regarding white supremacy, police brutality, colonialism and systemic racism," she said before explaining that the movement could not be reduced to corporate trends.
"I would not have been sacked if I had said what I said and was a cisgender, straight, white woman. It just wouldn't have happened. If you want to stand with black lives matter then get your own house in order first," she asserted.
"This could have been a moment of redemption for L'Oréal, a chance for them to make amends and lead by example. We all get things wrong, we all make mistakes, but it's where you go from there that is a signifier of who you are."
She called the brand out for claiming to stand with the black community while also refusing to engage with her, or apologise for the harm they caused her.
"Brands need to be aware of their own track record. It's unacceptable to claim to stand with us, if the receipts show a history of silencing black voices," she added. "Speaking out can’t only be “worth it” when you’re white. Black voices matter," she said.
Today, Munroe announced that she has since spoken to the beauty brand and will proceed by working in partnership with them on their UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.
"This week, I spoke with L'Oréal Paris new president Delphine Viguier, who reached out to me directly," she began.
"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."
Munroe revealed that the brand would be donating €25,000 to Mermaids, supporting gender-varient and transgender youth in the UK and €25,000 to Black Pride UK.
"As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big business to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion," she said.
"It’s imperative that in all industries, a wide range pf people from different backgrounds and experiences are in the room at all levels and in decision making roles, to reduce oversight and to create a product that is built with people in mind."
"So when L'Oréal offered me a consultancy role, to sit on their UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, helping to influence and inform the brand, 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 deceiver as a community."
Munroe said that she firmly believes in accountability and progress and 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," she said.
"It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L'Oréal team. Thank you to everyone who has had my back this past week," she added.
"Over the past three years I have realised my responsibility as an activist is to help unite us as people, regardless of our identity."
"We are all in an exciting time of change," she concluded, "I hope this reconciliation is proof that we can all find a way to put aside our differences and work together to push for a more progressive, fair and equal world," she concluded.