Munroe Bergdorf, the first transgender model to ever be hired by beauty brand L’Oreal, was dropped from her contract Friday after a Facebook post in which she discussed and condemned racism and white privilege was posted by an online media outlet and sparked outrage from white people who don’t like it when white privilege is discussed or called out.
The Daily Mail first reported on Bergdorf’s post Thursday evening, claiming that the 29-year-old British model had said, “All white people are racist.” She didn’t, but that’s what white people hear whenever you bring up white privilege or anything having to do with white people being racist, so let’s start there.
Bergdorf—who had recently appeared in L’Oreal’s #AllWorthIt campaign with Cheryl Cole and Katie Piper—had deleted the post, but the Daily Mail claimed to have saved a copy of it and posted snippets of it to its site as follows:
“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people anymore. Yes ALL white people.
“Because most of y’all 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. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this shit.
“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.
“Until then stay acting shocked about how the world continues to stay fucked at the hands of your ancestors and your heads that remain buried in the sand with hands over your ears.”
First of all, your girl preached a fucking word. It’s a harsh, nuanced word that was probably hard for fragile white people to digest, but it was a fucking word nonetheless.
Clearly the Daily Mail latched on to the fact that her first statement said, “Yes ALL white people,” but let me break that down for you real quick.
The implication here is that even if you do not consider yourself to be actively racist, you still benefit from the systems and policies created in racism that keep white supremacy and white privilege alive. You can deny it all you want, but it’s true, and we all know it.
Munroe basically said in a few paragraphs what The Root’s own Kirsten West Savali said in her epic piece, “To White Folks Who Dance With Devils: ‘What Kind of Extremists Will You Be?’”
Calling out white privilege and racism isn’t racist, but the Daily Mail called it that, and the people who started yelling at L’Oreal called it that as well. The hashtag #BoycottLOreal started, and people claimed they would stop using the company’s products if Bergdorf was not removed from the campaign.
L’Oreal caved to the pressure of white people not wanting to be called out on their passive participation in the systems of white privilege and white supremacy, and on Friday morning it announced on Twitter that it had dropped Bergdorf and ended its partnership with her.
Because nothing screams “performative allyship” like dropping a black trans woman from your beauty campaigns for daring to call out racism and white supremacy.
Of course, those who understood what Bergdorf meant and knew L’Oreal was full of shit immediately called the company out on it. They also used the hashtag #BoycottLOreal as well as #IStandWithMunroe.
Bergdorf also responded via a post on her Facebook page.
Shame on L’Oreal for doing this. You can’t say that you champion diversity while simultaneously shutting down and silencing people who speak out on things that work against diversity.
You cannot call yourself an ally to black people when you refuse to listen to the concerns of black people.