L’Oréal Paris ‘expresses regret’ for treatment of Munroe Bergdorf amid Black Lives Matter controversy

‘It’s imperative that in all industries, a wide range of people from different backgrounds and experiences are in the room at all levels,’ Bergdorf states

Munroe Bergdorf has revealed she has spoken with L’Oréal Paris president Delphine Viguier following criticism of the brand’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Monday 1 June, L’Oréal Paris released a statement saying the firm “stands in solidarity with the Black community, and against injustice of any kind”, stating: “Speaking out is worth it.”

This statement quickly drew criticism from Bergdorf, who was swiftly dropped by the brand when she spoke out against racism in 2017.

After becoming the first openly transgender model to front a campaign for L’Oréal in the UK, the company ended their partnership with Bergdorf after she made comments about “the racial violence of white people”.

L’Oréal Paris later stated that Bergdorf’s comments were “at odds” with the brand’s values of “diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion”.

Following the recent release of L’Oréal Paris’ statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, many people have called upon the brand to apologise to Bergdorf for the way in which she was treated.

Several social media users also encouraged influencers to use their platforms to publicly express their opposition to L’Oréal.

On Tuesday 9 June, Bergdorf released a new statement on social media revealing she had held a discussion with Viguier, who was made president of L’Oréal Paris in June 2019.

“This week, I spoke with L’Oréal Paris new president, Delphine Viguier, who reached out to me directly,” Bergdorf wrote.

“We had an open and constructive conversation, she listened to what I had to say and expressed her regret for how the situation was handled three years ago.”

Bergdorf added that L’Oréal is due to release a statement outlining the firm’s plans to to make donations of €25,000 (£22,279) to Mermaids, a charity “supporting gender-variant and transgender youth in the UK”, and UK Black Pride, “an annual safe space to celebrate diverse sexualities, gender identities, cultures, gender expressions and backgrounds”.

“As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion,” Bergdorf said.

“It’s imperative that in all industries, a wide range of people from different backgrounds and experiences are in the room at all levels and in decision making roles, to reduce oversight and to create a product that is built with all people in mind.”

She added that she is has been offered a consultancy role to sit on the UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for L’Oréal “helping to influence and inform the brand”, a position she accepted.

“I believe in accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges. 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 for me,” she said.

“It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oréal team.”

Bergdorf added that over the past three years, she has realised her responsibility as an activist is to “help to unite us as people, regardless of our identity”.

Several people applauded Bergdorf on speaking out against L’Oréal and for receiving an apology and action from the brand.

“This is fantastic! This was all you Munroe! Holding this brand accountable and not backing down. You are a force of nature!!!” wrote Game of Thrones actor Nathalie Emmanuel.

“It’s what you deserve!!!!” said radio presenter Clara Amfo. “This is MONUMENTAL, you are a true fighter and history maker. SO happy for and proud of you!!!”

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