White, bleaching, light or whitening are words that will no longer be used in L’Oréal’s skin care products. The French multinational announced saturday that it will remove these expressions from its skin care products, following anti-corrosion demonstrations motivated by the death of George Floyd, the African-American who was asphyxiated to death by a police officer.
The decision was announced in a statement issued this Saturday where the brand says it has decided to “remove the words white/bleaching, clear/whitening of all its skin care products”, Writes the Associated Press.
L’Oréal is not, however, the first brand to make such a decision. On Thursday, multinational Unilever also announced the same, after being criticized following Floyd’s death.
L’Oréal was also widely criticized after earlier this month it tweeted in solidarity “with the black community and against any kind of injustice.” The publication had the opposite effect and eventually provoked negative reactions from users who accused the multinational of being too focused on white consumers.
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 pic.twitter.com/4VDZUAdgXv
— L’Oréal Paris USA (@LOrealParisUSA) June 1, 2020
One of them was Munroe Bergdorf, the black and transgender model who was hired by L’Oréal in August 2017 to run a campaign to promote a series of skin-tone bases, but was dismissed shortly thereafter. The motive? Have made a post on his Facebook page commenting on a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which an anti-far-right protester was killed by a white supremacist.
“Honestly, I don’t have the energy to talk about white racial violence anymore. Yes, all white people… Because most of you do not even realize or refuse to recognize that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of color,” Munroe Bergdorf then wrote.
The post generated some controversy and Facebook even eliminated it, claiming it violated its standards. At the same time, L’Oréal announced the end of the partnership with the model, on Twitter: “L’Oréal defends diversity. Munroe Bergdorf’s comments are at odds with our values, so we have decided to end our partnership with her.”
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
Now, using Instagram, Munroe Bergdorf came to criticize the publication of solidarity of L’Oréal, recalling the episode that happened to you. “You took me out of a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for talking about racism and white supremacy,” reads the post made on June 1.
Days after the outburst, the model and activist announced on Twitter that she had had an “open and constructive conversation” with the new president of L’Oréal Paris, Delphine Viguier, who expressed “regret” for the situation. In the tweet, Munroe Bergdorf left on the air the possibility of a “new and positive relationship with the L’Oréal team — which came to fruition: the model agreed to join the Advisory Board for Diversity and Inclusion of the brand in the UK.
I have spoken with @loreal, please swipe for full statement.
Thank you everyone for having my back with this matter over the past three years, it hasn’t been easy.
Looking forward to new beginnings and a new positive relationship with the L’Oreal team.
Munroe x pic.twitter.com/DxltLF8Z7j
— Black Trans Lives Matter ✊???? (@MunroeBergdorf) June 9, 2020
On the multinational’s Instagram, Viguier detailed that he had “an honest and transparent conversation” with Bergdorf, adding that L’Oréal will donate some money to causes that advocate social justice. “We support Munroe’s fight against systemic racism and, as a company, we are committed to working to dismantle these systems,” it reads.