Who’s the fairest of them all? Whoever it is, she ain’t wearing L’Oreal.
On Saturday, the French cosmetics behemoth announced it will “remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products.”
The change comes as a clobbering in the bulging battle against racism.
The company’s taking things to the next level. As reported by The Associated Press, L’Oreal tweeted earlier this month that it “stands in solidarity with the Black community and against injustice of any kind.”
L’Oréal Paris stands in solidarity with the Black community, and against injustice of any kind. We are making a commitment to the @NAACP to support progress in the fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/4VDZUAdgXv
— L'Oréal Paris USA (@LOrealParisUSA) June 1, 2020
But that fell short for some:
Delete this hypocrites
— Joe (@JoePassmore) June 1, 2020
“Honestly, I dont energy to talk about the racial violence of White people anymore. Yes ALL white people. B/c most of ya’ll 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 color.”
— ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (@hoodburbia) June 1, 2020
L’Oreal, you are so incredibly tone deaf and sanctimonious. And YOUR privilege is showing. You fire a black woman for speaking against racism & then you hire an abusive white woman…all without batting an eye bc you think you can do whatever you want. THAT is privilege.
— LillyJane916 (@LillyJane916) June 1, 2020
— 🏳️🌈🇲🇽 (@CapsSerna) June 1, 2020
Several Sick-of-Its brought up the brand’s recent history with Munroe Bergdorf.
Here’s more about that from The Guardian:
Munroe Bergdorf, the model and transgender activist, has accused L’Oréal Paris of hypocrisy after it posted a message on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement days after the George Floyd killing.
Bergdorf was hired by the beauty company in August 2017 but was fired days later after a controversy over comments she posted on Facebook in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which an anti-far-right protester was killed by a white supremacist.
In August 2017, Bergdorf was announced as one of the faces of L’Oréal’s True Match diversity campaign to launch a range of foundations for a variety of skin tones. But she was dropped at the start of September after her post on Charlottesville came to light.
The post caused controversy because of remarks including: “Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. 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 built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is built on racism.”
Back to Twitter:
Jumping on the PR bandwagon is not a good look – I recall a model called Munroe speaking out about racism and L’Oreal dropped her hmmm and now you jump on the bandwagon!!
— Rach (@RachaelUnedited) June 1, 2020
Worth it? How so? Did you show how much it‘s worth it when you fired Munroe Bergdorf for speaking out? How she was hired to show diversity yet speaking truth threatened you so much you let her go? You don’t care about diversity or BLM you care about your image. Do better.
— taira ✨💖✨ (@vanillaabeaan) June 1, 2020
Liars. You fired @MunroeBergdorf for speaking the same truth you’re trying to profit off now. You’re words are as hollow as your actions are empty and it the NAACP has any integrity they will either reject the money and/or force a public apology to Munroe. https://t.co/kVra7qbQwg
— Skylar Ezell, Storyteller and Hot Wing Enthusiast (@Skylar_Writer) June 1, 2020
What’s your plan to make up for this injustice which you yourself carried out?!? pic.twitter.com/4DN45xEJUS
— Santi (@theSantiChrist) June 1, 2020
SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU COWARDS: pic.twitter.com/PyApvZ2BDY
— Ξvan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) June 1, 2020
And there was this:
This you? pic.twitter.com/vg92u3IOcZ
— Mary Kay (@okay_kay) June 1, 2020
Of course, the company didn’t say it would stop selling the products; only that it would stop using what it apparently had previously determined were the most logical words to describe them.
And L’Oreal isn’t alone — as noted by the AP, their fight for justice “follows a similar move by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever on Thursday.”
We’re committed to a skin care portfolio that's inclusive of all skin tones, celebrating the diversity of beauty. That’s why we’re removing the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening’ & ‘lightening’ from products, and changing the Fair & Lovely brand name.https://t.co/W3tHn6dHqE
— Unilever #StaySafe (@Unilever) June 25, 2020
That one got rousing remarks, too:
The problem isn’t the name of the product. It’s the fact that skin whitening products exist. The idea that having “white” skin is the highest of beauty standards is saying that all other skin tones are lesser.
— Tina Tao Maynes (@tinamaynes) June 25, 2020
This is pretty close to demonising white skin – painting it as an evil.
— Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly) June 25, 2020
#unilever need to pay compensation ( equal to brand profit earned over last 50 years ) to entire Asian & African communities for telling them your color is inferior @PMOIndia India should tax such products equal to tobacco and liquor as they kill people’s confidence
— Shailesh Naik (@scode_snn) June 25, 2020
Your product doesn’t even work anyway. I have an aunt who used it religiously for like 25 years for no reason. That being said, you should donate to groups who have been disadvantaged by your ads and general impact to society.
— Suzy (@GitDool) June 25, 2020
It’s great to live in a world where racism can be solved by the mere deletion of words existing in order to describe degrees of light. Or geography. Or architecture. It’s a heck of a lot better than the old days, when people had to actually do stuff.
So cut the pages out of your dictionaries, and hopefully, we’ll all soon be rid of the entire scourge.
Throw that politically inappropriate paper away and Presto Change-O: fantabulous
Oh, I beg your pardon…equality.
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