L’Oréal is set to omit words such as ‘fair’ and ‘whitening’ from its products in an effort to address discrimination.
The move comes after weeks of Black Lives Matter protests, which aim to put an end to racism and for Black people to be treated with equality.
The announcement was made by L’Oréal on Friday, June 26, becoming one of the latest in a series of companies to change its controversial branding.
“The L’Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products.” The statement reads.
The words may be defined as exclusive, suggesting that 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 being white is a more desirable look.
Earlier this month, L’Oreal expressed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that the company ‘stands in solidarity with the Black community, and against the injustice of any kind’. L’Oreal tied its slogan into the show of support, adding: ‘Speaking out is worth it.’
Even though the post never intended any harm, L’Oreal received backlash from people who believe the company’s business model and advertising to be focused on white consumers.
Several people 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.’
@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 — One Twitter user wrote.
Bergdorf herself criticized the company for its statement in support of Black Lives Matter, commenting:
“… 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.”
Bergdorf has since said that she had a conversation with L’Oreal Paris brand president Delphine Viguier, who ‘expressed regret for how the situation was handled’.
She 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.