L’Oréal is set to remove potentially exclusive words such as ‘whitening’ and ‘fair’ from its products in an effort to tackle discrimination.
The move comes following weeks of Black Lives Matter movements, which call for racism to be abolished and for Black people to be treated with absolute equality.
L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetic and beauty company, announced its decision on Friday, June 26, becoming one of the latest in a series of companies to change its controversial branding.
A statement from the company read:
The L’Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products.
The words may be deemed as exclusive, suggesting the products are only for the use of white people, or that they will make the skin ‘lighter’ and therefore more similar to that of white people, as if that is a more desirable look.
Earlier this month, the company expressed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as it said it ‘stands in solidarity with the Black community, and against injustice of any kind’. L’Oréal tied its slogan into the show of support, adding: ‘Speaking out is worth it.’
Though the post was made with good intention, the company received backlash from people who believe the company’s business model and advertising to be focused on white consumers.
Some accused L’Oreal of hypocrisy because it decided to drop the UK’s first openly transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf, from its brand in 2017 for decrying ‘the racial violence of white people.’
One Twitter user wrote:
@Loreal You couldn’t write it. Is speaking out worth it to lose your job? Or just worth it for a new PR campaign? We await your full apology. #weSTILLstandwithmunroe
Bergdorf herself criticised the company for its statement in support of Black Lives Matter, commenting:
Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F*CK 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.
The model has since said she had a conversation with L’Oreal Paris brand president Delphine Viguier, who ‘expressed regret for how the situation was handled’. Bergdorf explained that as an activist part of her work is to ‘encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion.’
The company rehired Bergdorf and she will now join the UK company’s diversity and inclusion advisory board.