You may have seen the news clips on L’OREAL and how they’ve been beaten down for only hiring white women in some of their operations to promote their productcs. Some of you may also know then that the beloved Kate Winslet, and Clive Owens, are also spokespersons for L’OREAL.
At the moment they are being pressured to step down as spokespeople:
“We would ask those high-profile ambassadors to think carefully about whether or not they want to be associated with this organization,” said a spokesperson for the Commission for Racial Equality. “What a wonderful opportunity this could be to stand up to racism, to show that it simply has no place in today’s society.”
Simon Woolley of race campaign group The 1990 Trust adds, “It is shameful that those on L’Oreal’s payroll keep conveniently quiet. The correct thing to do would be to at least speak out or resign.”
So the question that comes to mind is, if they stay at L’OREAL are they helping to keep a racist regime up and running? Are they spokespersons for racism by staying on? And then does that make them a little racist?
Does being paid by a company that just got nabbed for racist tactics make those on their payroll racists automatically?
To that question I’d have to say no – the person delivering mail surely isn’t a racist because of that – and I’m sure there are many fine people who work there, that aren’t racist or practice racist hiring practices (or had anything to do with the situation).
But when you’re a spokesperson it is different. You have power. You’re a spokesperson for a reason. And for the most part – while I’m sure the money is great – I’ll go out on a limb and say they don’t need the money they are getting from L’OREAL.
Because they have power and affluence, in this case they have only two choices:
1. Call out their employers – it happens all the time. Call a press release – people will come. Don’t quit, but also fight it from the inside while you still take their money and use it for something good. If L’OREAL drops them – so be it.
2. Quit. Bash L’OREAL and their practices with something like “I tried talking with top executives, but we didn’t see it the same way so I’m severing my relationship with L’OREAL because of their racist practices”.
The only other option is to do nothing, continue collecting a check, and be a good little Spokesperson For Racism – hey doesn’t that kind of sound like “Springtime for Hitler”? Maybe it could be a musical….