advertisement
advertisement

L’Oréal did the right thing reconciling with activist and model Munroe Bergdorf

The brand fired Bergdorf for speaking out on racism and white supremacy in 2017 but has now reportedly made amends.

L’Oréal did the right thing reconciling with activist and model Munroe Bergdorf
[Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Gay Times]

Back in August 2017, model Munroe Bergdorf was fired by L’Oréal Paris as a spokesperson for the brand’s diversity initiative after posting a comment on Facebook about unconscious racism in the wake of the Charlottesville protests and white supremacy marches. Munroe said in the comment, which has since been deleted, “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.”

advertisement
advertisement

Fast-forward three years: Last week Bergdorf rightfully pointed out the hypocrisy in her firing and L’Oréal now coming out with an anti-racist message itself.

Today, Bergdorf announced that L’Oréal Paris president Delphine Viguier had reached out to her directly, expressing regret at how the situation was handled three years ago. The brand will reportedly make a statement, and Bergdorf also said that she was accepting a consultancy position on the company’s UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.

Fast Company reached out to L’Oréal Paris for comment and will update this post if it replies.

Between COVID-19 and the current protests against racism and police brutality, many brands are being forced to reconcile the gap between their words and their actions. It’s seeing Walmart CEO Doug McMillon using an emotional ad to praise his more than 1 million “heroes” working in the company’s stores during the pandemic, then reading New York Times op-ed from one of those heroes lamenting how the company is failing to protect them. It’s Amazon’s less-than-stellar record on executive diversity, police surveillance, sale of racist products, and more. And it’s any major corporation not able to see the connection between the social justice they speak out on and the financial pretzel twists they perform to pay as little in taxes as possible.

advertisement

Here, though, is a victory.

For Bergdorf, certainly, but also for L’Oréal.

One of the best reactions to making a mistake—no matter how long ago—is to admit it, honestly ask how you can make amends, and then follow through.

advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

More