Trans model Munroe Bergdorf rejoins L’Oréal as Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board consultant

L'Oreal will be donating €25,000 to both UK Black Pride and Mermaids Gender following conversations with trans model Munroe Bergdorf.

Bergdorf L'Oreal
Image: LUKE NUGENT

Trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf has been hired in a consultancy role to sit on the UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for L’Oréal. 

On June 1, 2020, L’Oréal Paris posted a message of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in which the brand declared, “Speaking out is worth it.” Bergdorf responded by highlighting the hypocrisy of this statement in relation to how she was previously treated by the company. 

In 2017, Bergdorf became the first trans representative of L’Oréal, spearheading the brand’s True Match campaign as the face of “modern diversity”. However, the activist was subsequently fired after calling out systematic racism on social media. 

Regarding L’Oréal’s recent message of solidarity, Bergdorf wrote, “You dropped me from the campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy. With no duty of are, 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.”

After the activist spoke out against the brand’s hypocrisy, L’Oréal Paris newest Brand President, Delphine Viguier, wrote on the company’s social media accounts, “3 years ago, Munroe felt silenced by a brand, L’Oréal Paris, that had the power to amplify her voice. While we both agree today that negative labels should not be used to define all individuals in any group, I understand much better the pain and trauma that were behind Munroe’s words back then and the urgency she felt to speak in defense of the Black community against systemic racism. I regret the lack of dialogue and support the company showed Munroe around the time of the termination. We should have also done more to create a conversation for change as we are now doing.”

Following an “open and constructive conversation” with Viguier, the model will now take on a consultancy role on the UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. In a written statement, Bergdorf spoke openly about how she was looking forward to “new beginnings” with the team. 

Speaking about her new position, Bergdorf wrote, “I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach and take up that seat at the table to be the representation that we deserve as a community. I believe in accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges.”

L’Oréal are planning on making a donation of €25,000 to both trans and gender-variant youth charity Mermaids Gender and community-led organisation UK Black Pride. Bergdorf stated, “As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion.”

In response to Bergdorf’s announcement, UK Black Pride wrote on Twitter, “We stand by you, by Black trans women around the world and by the communities we represent, today and always.”

Mermaids Gender expressed on their social media account, “Such amazing news! Well done Munroe Bergdorf, and thank you L’Oréal. Seeing such a positive step for Black and trans people during this emotional time is truly inspiring. We’re also sending big love to our friends at UK Black Pride, we’re so happy to see them being supported!”

Bergdorf spoke further about her goals as an activist for gender equality and her hopes in this new role. She wrote, “We are all in an exciting time of change. I hope this reconciliation is proof that we can all find a way to put aside our differences and work together to push for a more progressive, fair and equal world.”

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