Earlier this morning, L’Oréal Paris UK ended their partnership with Munroe Bergdorf – a transgender black woman who made a Facebook post calling out racism in response to the in response to the incidence of violence from white supremacists in Charlottesville. This comes just days after Munroe was lauded as the first openly transgender person to star in a L’Oréal campaign. Even more significantly, the campaign was for their #1 Foundation – True Match – which just recently expanded their shade range from 23 to 28 to encompass even deeper tones. In their own words, ‘because we are all worth it,’ they’ve decided to diversify the line so it includes not only binary women, but a transgender woman of colour like Munroe, who has had an extremely difficult time gaining representation in the beauty industry.
L’Oréal Paris’ argument for ending their partnership with Munroe was that her comments were ‘at odds’ with their values as they ‘champion diversity.’ This comes across as quite oxymoronic considering Munroe herself exists as both black and LGBTQ, thus her experience is as ‘diverse’ as they come. For many brands, Munroe’s intersectionality means she is a major score – ticking two boxes in the diversity checklist. But the issue is, Munroe, just like many other black LGBTQ women is not a token, but is treated as such.