Amid continued international protests against systemic racism and police violence in the wake of the death of George Floyd, after a white police officer knelt on his neck, L’Oréal shared a post on its Instagram account.
The post, published on Monday evening, read: “Speaking out is worth it”, alongside the caption: “L’Oréal Paris stands in solidarity with the Black community, and against injustice of any kind.
“We are making a commitment to the @naacp to support progress in the fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter.”
However, the statement quickly received criticism from Bergdorf as the brand faileed to support her when she spoke out against racism in 2017.
Just a week after L’Oréal Paris announced Bergdorf as a new facee, the brand ended its partnership with Bergdorf over comments she made calling out racism in the aftermath of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one person dead and many others severely injured.
The model wrote at the time: “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 colour.”
She continued: “Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***.
“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.”
L’Oréal Paris later said that Bergdorf’s post was “at odds” with the brand’s values of “diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion.”
Now, the model and activist has called out the brand for its refusal to support her and accused L’Oréal Paris of using Black Lives Matter as a “window of PR opportunity to jump on the bandwagon.”
“Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F*** YOU @lorealparis. You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy,” Bergdorf wrote on Instagram alongside a screenshot of the beauty brand’s post.
“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,” she continued before calling the company “racist snakes”.
“You do NOT get to do this. This is NOT okay, not even in the slightest,” Bergdorf added.
“F*** you. F*** your 'solidarity'. Where was my support when I spoke out? Where was my apology? I'm disgusted and writing this in floods of tears and shaking. This is gaslighting.”
Bergdorf concluded the post by calling on her followers to hold the company to account and not long after social media users began chiming in, accusing L’Oréal Paris of hypocrisy and demanding a formal apology.
“You sure as hell never stood in solidarity before. how you treated Munroe is an embarrassment, and makes these words sound incredibly empty,” one person commented.
Another added: “But you dropped @munroebergdorf in 2017 for speaking about this issue! Don’t jump on the trend train.”
A third person wrote: “Where was your solidarity when you dropped Munroe Bergdorf for speaking out about racism??? How exactly will you ‘support progress’ when you won’t look at the racism in your own company?? What changes will you make that are TANGIBLE and TRANSPARENT??”
Bergdorf later thanked her followers for their support in a separate Instagram post that featured a video of writer Aja Barber addressing the issue of performative allyship.
“Just jumping on here to say thank you to everyone who has supported me today,” Bergdorf wrote.
“Today has been difficult and brought up a lot of trauma from having to deal with @lorealparis's racism the first time around. I'm so thankful for my communities, what would the world be without black women, trans resilience and the gays...Thank you.”
The activist added that she is taking some time away from social media to “find my happiness” but that she was not “holding my breath” for an apology from the cosmetics company.
The Independent has contacted L’Oréal Paris for comment.
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