Model Munroe Bergdorf is to work with L’Oreal Paris again almost three years after she was sacked for comments about racism.
The cosmetics giant cut ties with its first transgender model after she wrote on Facebook about “the racial violence of white people”, saying they were “at odds” with the brand’s values.
The reunion comes after the model criticised L’Oreal for publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of African American George Floyd.
On June 1 Bergdorf tweeted: “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. 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. You do NOT get to do this. This is NOT okay, not even in the slightest.
“I said yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before RACIST AF brands saw a window of PR Opportunity. F*** you. F*** your ‘solidarity’. Where was my support when I spoke out? I’m disgusted and writing this in floods of tears.
Bergdorf said L’Oreal Paris’s new president Delphine Viguier spoke to her and apologised for how the situation was handled in 2017.
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 Lives Matter ✊? (@MunroeBergdorf) June 9, 2020
She said the company offered her a consultancy role on their UK diversity and inclusion advisory board which she has taken up so she can “practice what I preach”.
“As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion,” Bergdorf said in a statement.
“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.
“It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oreal team.”
Ms Viguier said she had an “honest, transparent and vulnerable conversation” with Bergdorf in which they listened and shared their feelings and perspectives.
She said Bergdorf felt silenced by L’Oreal Paris in 2017 when the brand could have “amplified 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 defence of the Black community against systemic racism,” she said.
“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.
Ms Viguier said the company will support causes personal to Bergdorf’s experience, with the model revealing L’Oreal Paris will donate €25,000 (£22,000) to Mermaids Gender and €25,000 to UK Black Pride.