Munroe Bergdorf made history in her native United Kingdom when she became the first transgender woman to OKmodel in a British L’Oréal Paris campaign. She was subsequently fired for commenting about White people’s complicity in racist violence. Now, she will headline a campaign for British cosmetics company Illamasqua.
— Munroe Bergdorf (@MunroeBergdorf) September 13, 2017
The Washington Post reported yesterday (September 14) that L’Oréal Paris took issue with a now-deleted Facebook post in which Bergdorf responded to last month’s violent White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of White people any more. Yes ALL White people.” read the Facebook post as quoted by The Post. “Because most of y’all 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.”
British tabloid The Daily Mail covered the story and described her statements as ”an extraordinary rant declaring all White people racist”—a charge she rejected in another Facebook post on September 1 that elaborated on her comments with a discussion of racism in the fashion and beauty industries:
The company announced the termination of her contract a few hours later:
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
L’Oréal Paris’ decision prompted backlash and an outpouring of support for Bergdorf. Fellow Black British model and DJ Clara Amfo posted on Instagram that she would withdraw from her own L’Oreal partnership in protest. Munroe went on a press tour, speaking to Channel 4, The Guardian, Vice’s Broadly and other outlets. The hashtag #IStandWithMunroe trended on Twitter with messages of solidarity:
— Jannah Faro (@JanFar89) September 3, 2017
Bc it’s ok for white ppl to carry torches & scream bigotry but not for a black woman to challenge your views on racism #IStandWithMunroe
— Sam (@Samcidita) September 5, 2017
— Illamasqua (@Illamasqua) September 1, 2017