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L’Oréal Has Dropped Its First Transgender Model For A Facebook Post Calling Out White Privilege

"Big brands are willing to profit from black women without standing up for them," Munroe Bergdorf told BuzzFeed News.

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Earlier this week, model Munroe Bergdorf made history when she was announced as the first openly transgender woman to front a L’Oréal UK campaign.

However, this week the Daily Mail published details of a Facebook post Bergdorf had written after August's violent far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she apparently called for white people to "admit their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth".

Instagram: @munroebergdorf
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The post has since been deleted, but the Daily Mail claimed to have text from it:

"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.

"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."

Following publication of the Daily Mail's story, people on social media expressed their anger at what they believed was a L’Oréal model expressing "racist" views.

@MunroeBergdorf Can't imagine you'll be a spokesperson much longer after your racist facebook rant.

Holy shit, @LOrealParisUSA You chose that beast to rep your brand?! Hideous AND racist! Fire it! #MunroeBergdorf

.@MunroeBergdorf Race baiting at its finest. To say one racial group are ALL racists is by definition racist in itself. #Ignorant @Loreal

Some began using the hashatg #BoycottLOreal, saying they would stop using the company's products until Bergdorf was removed from the campaign.

dear @Loreal you drop this racist or we #boycottloreal PS:white people are your biggest market.Can you afford to l… https://t.co/rfTpQHqbN8

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@LOrealUSA according to your new transgender model ALL #WhitePeople are racist, guess it's time for a #BoycottLOreal hash tag

@Loreal I'll never buy your crap again. Fire this man or face the boycott #boycottloreal https://t.co/IVhx62Y7CI

On Friday morning, L’Oréal UK's official Twitter page wrote that the company would be parting ways with Bergdorf.

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.

But this then also resulted in a backlash from people on social media who believed Bergdorf had done nothing wrong. They too began using the #BoycottLOreal hashtag.

I'm absolutely fuming. You champion diversity yeah? Or do you just want to use black bodies to sell your products - the more radical

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@LOrealParisUK I'm honestly disgusted, you've pulled her contract because she dared to comment that racism exists?… https://t.co/bsLhzHkui4

Many people found it hypocritical of the company to remove someone from a diversity beauty campaign for speaking out on diversity issues.

@LOrealParisUK Throwing out every L'Oreal product I have ever owned. @MunroeBergdorf's comments were honest and tru… https://t.co/o5H6fcGpkK

L'Oreal dropping Munroe Bergdorf from their DIVERSITY campaign for commenting on the reality of racism is so fucked up

Nothing Munroe Bergdorf said was wrong, or even inappropriate. All white people benefit from racism and white supremacy, this is not news

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Bergdorf subsequently released her own statement on her Facebook page. In the post, she called out the Daily Mail for claiming her statement was made this week and taking her words out of context. She also addressed L’Oréal for failing to acknowledge underlying racist issues in the beauty industry.

Facebook: munroebergdorfpersonal

Following L’Oréal's decision to part ways with Bergdorf, she posted again on Facebook, saying the brand cares about "nothing" other than money and urging people to boycott it.

facebook.com

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Bergdorf said that if L’Oréal actually cared about the diversity element of the campaign, it would have supported her when she spoke out.

"Big brands are willing to profit from black women without standing up for them," she said. "I'm not saying all white people are racist. What I'm talking about is social fact. White people are socially conditioned to be racist in the same way men are conditioned to be misogynistic. It's society – what the Daily Mail has done is not only make me look like a hate preacher, but directed hate to me. I expected more from L’Oréal. But they appear to only care about brand. It speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the campaign."

Bergdorf said that while she has received support online, none of the other models involved in the campaign have contacted her.

L’Oréal provided the following statement to BuzzFeed News when contacted about the decision to part ways with Bergdorf:

"L’Oréal supports 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."

Other perspectives on this story

Outside Your Bubble is a BuzzFeed News effort to bring you a diversity of thought and opinion from around the internet. If you don't see your viewpoint represented, contact the curator at bubble@buzzfeed.com. Click here for more on Outside Your Bubble.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

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