Munroe Bergdorf joins L'Oréal as a consultant

Following the brand’s unfair dismissal of the trans model and activist three years ago, it’s a necessary step towards diversity in the beauty giant’s upper ranks.

by Mahoro Seward
10 June 2020, 12:30pm

This time last week, the model, activist and all-round trans icon Munroe Bergdorf seized the internet's attention when she called out L'Oréal Paris for brazen hypocrisy. Following numerous corporations keen to ingratiate themselves with the Black Lives Matter moment, the beauty powerhouse posted a picture that read “Speaking out is worth it,” along with a caption detailing the brand’s “solidarity with the Black community” and stance “against injustice of any kind”.

This is all bitterly ironic, of course, given that Munroe was dismissed from her role as a brand ambassador for speaking out against racist violence back in 2017. The model’s reaction to L'Oréal’s sudden pivot to keyboard activism -- without any recognition of the injustice she suffered at their hands -- was one of justifiable rage.

"Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F*CK YOU @lorealparis. You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy," she wrote in a post on Instagram. "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. Racist snakes."

Since then, and with the swell of public support for Munroe that has come in the post’s wake, it seems that L'Oréal has seen the error of its ways. Yesterday, it was announced that Munroe will be working as a consultant on the company’s UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, following constructive conversations with the company’s new president, Delphine Viguier.

“She listened to what I had to say and expressed her regret for how the situation was handled three years ago,” said Munroe in a statement. “As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion.”

“I believe in accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges,” she continued. “While what happened three 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.”

In a further testament to the positive change that Munroe will no doubt be bringing to her role, she also announced that L'Oréal will be making a €25,000 donation to UK-based charity Mermaids, which helps trans and gender-diverse children and young people, as well as a €25,000 donation to UK Black Pride.

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