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Earlier this week, DJ and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf became L’Oreal Paris UK’s first transgender model. However, Bergdorf was fired just three days later for writing on Facebook that “ALL” white people are racist.
The brand announced the news in a tweet on Friday.
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
In her now-deleted Facebook post—which Bergdorf says she posted in the wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, not this week—she called out the “racial violence of white people.” According to Perez Hilton, her post read:
“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. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggression to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this shit. 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.”
Not addressing the time frame or context, L’Oreal told the Daily Mail that the model’s comments were “at odds” with its values of diversity of and tolerance. “We support diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender, and religion,” the company stated. “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.”
After her firing went public, Bergdorf again took to Facebook to defend her position. She also addressed her wording of “all white people” that appeared to strike a nerve.
“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, prioritise and protect white people before anyone of any other race,” she wrote.
Bergdorf added that she agrees with L’Oreal’s values of “tolerance and acceptance,” but that the brand’s action’s don’t do enough to address “the reason why these women are underrepresented within the industry in the first place.”
“At times like this, it becomes blindly obvious what is genuine allyship and what is performative,” she wrote.
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.