L’Oréal faces backlash after dropping influencer following ‘racist’ comments

The beauty conglomerate has been criticised for its decision to end its contract with activist and trans influencer Munroe Bergdorf – less than 48 hours after announcing the partnership.

L’Oréal is facing a backlash on social media after sacking one of its new influencers Munroe Bergdorf, who had made comments in a Facebook post addressing racism and white supremacy.

The company released a statement on Twitter earlier today, stating: “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.”

Trans activist Bergdorf was named the latest member of the brand’s ‘Beauty Squad’ only earlier this week. The group features a wide range of influencers, from bloggers and Instagram stars to singer Cheryl Cole, who appear in the brand’s advertising and also create collaborative content.

READ MORE: L’Oréal on how the ‘power’ of diversity transformed the brand

The influencer came under fire following an article by the Daily Mail today (1 September), claiming Bergdorf said all white people are racist in a Facebook post. Bergdorf, however, says the post was a direct response to the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, in which a neo-nazi drove a car into a crowd of protestors, killing one person and injuring many more.

L’Oréal’s decision has not gone down well with many people on social media. People were quick to comment on the company’s tweet, with some asking: “How can you claim to champion diversity and then fire her for speaking out against systemic racism?”

Bergdorf has since questioned the company’s sincerity when it comes to promoting diversity, and urged her followers to boycott the brand.

“Sit still and smile in a beauty campaign ‘championing diversity’. But don’t actually speak about the fact that lack of diversity is due to racism. Or speak about the origins of racism. It’ll cost you your job,” she said in a statement on Facebook.

Diversity has been at the top of L’Oréal Paris’ agenda over recent years. It has hired popular influencers with large social followings to front its campaigns, and changed its slogan to ‘We Are All Worth It’ to become more inclusive. L’Oréal even claimed this focus on diversity has led people to reappraise the brand while boosting sales.

Marketing Week approached L’Oréal for comment, but it did not respond in time for publication.

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