Note: this article contains coarse language that may offend some readers.
Things seemed to have been going really well this week for transgender model Munroe Bergdorf. She was the first trans woman to sign a contract with beauty giant L’Oréal Paris, receiving praise and headlines for the move.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old Brit, the celebrations wouldn't last long.
According to People, just three days later she was fired for writing a lengthy post on Facebook that condemned the “racial violence of...ALL white people."
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 color.
Bergdorf continued in the now deleted Facebook post:
Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggression 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.
L'Oréal was quick to denounce the model's words, saying that it did not match their values. The company told the Daily Mail:
“We support diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion. The L’Oréal Paris True Match campaign is a representation of these values and we are proud of the diversity of the Ambassadors who represent this campaign.We believe that the recent comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with those values, and as such we have taken the decision to end the partnership with her. L’Oréal remains committed to celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers in beauty.”
L'Oréal even addressed it on Twitter:
Bergdorf claimed that her comments were taken out of context by the Daily Mail, saying that she was speaking about the incidents in Charlottesville and point out the violence of white supremacists.
She also scolded L'Oréal for not addressing discrimination:
Her post read, in part:
When I stated that 'all white people are racist', I was addressing that fact that western society as a whole, is a SYSTEM rooted in white supremacy – designed to benefit, prioritize and protect white people before anyone of any other race. Unknowingly, white people are SOCIALISED to be racist from birth onwards. It is not something genetic. No one is born racist.
If L’Oreal truly wants to offer empowerment to underrepresented women, then they need to acknowledge THE REASON why these women are underrepresented within the industry in the first place. This reason is discrimination – an action which punches down from a place of social privilege. We need to talk about why women of colour were and still are discriminated against within the industry, not just see them as a source of revenue.
It just goes to show the power of social media during times like these.