L’Oreal has asked model Munroe Bergdorf to advise the company on diversity and inclusion, three years after it dropped her for comments about systemic racism.
The fashion company cut ties with Bergdorf in 2017 after she reportedly wrote on Facebook about “the racial violence of white people” following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which a counter-protester was killed.
Earlier this month, the British model accused L’Oreal of hypocrisy after its top retail brand, L’Oreal Paris, posted a message on its social media accounts following the death of George Floyd that said “speaking out is worth it.”
“Excuse my language but I am SO angry. F**K 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,” wrote Bergdorf.
The black and trans model had featured prominently in one of the brand’s UK advertising campaigns before she was dropped.
On Tuesday, L’Oreal Paris brand president Delphine Viguier said in a statement on social media that following a “honest, transparent and vulnerable” conversation, Bergdorf had agreed to serve on the brand’s UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.
“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,” said Viguier. “We support Munroe’s fight against systemic racism and as a company we are committed to work to dismantle such systems.”
The reconciliation is the latest example of how protests sparked by the death of Floyd are forcing companies to take a hard look at their policies. Floyd died after a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota used his knee to pin the unarmed black man’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes.
Adidas announced Tuesday that it will fill at least 30% of new US positions with black or Latinx people after hundreds of employees walked out of the company’s North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon in protest. Twitter and Square are making Juneteenth (June 19) — a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States — a corporate holiday.
Viguier said in her statement that “3 years ago, Munroe felt silenced by a brand, L’Oreal Paris, that had the power to amplify her voice.”
“I understand much better the pain and trauma that were behind Munroe’s words back then and the urgency she felt to speak in defense of the Black community against systemic racism,” Viguier said.
Munroe said that more companies need to understand their responsibility with regard to diversity and inclusion.
“I hope this reconciliation is proof that we can all find a way to put aside our differences and work together to push for a more progressive, fair and equal world,” she said in a statement.
CNN has contacted L’Oreal for further comment.