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L'Oreal Charged With Racial Discrimination

L'Oreal in Hot Water For Racial Discrimination

"Because you're worth it" is L'Oreal's brand slogan — but in France, a few bad apples seemed to think only white Garnier hostesses were worth hawking their shampoo to customers.

An executive from Garnier, L'Oreal's beauty division, sent out a fax in 2000 instructing headquarters to find an all-white team of sales staff to promote Fructis Style. The code term? Find Garnier hostesses, the fax instructed, who are "bleu, blanc, rouge" (blue, white, red), the colors on the French flag and code in business recruitment circles, apparently, for white French people born to white French parents. This directive would have ruled out black, Asian, or Arab representatives, in effect excluding around four million ethnic minorities and people of color that make up France.

France's equivalent of the US Supreme Court, La Cour de Cassation, said that the policy was illegal under French employment law. Although the employee who sent out the fax denies discriminatory intent, claiming that she just wanted hostesses who could "express themselves correctly in French," employees claimed that they were given verbal instructions to favor white sales staff.

Image Source: Getty
cheytown cheytown 8 years
I agree with the boycott, I think that if enough people stop buying their products they will have to change their business practices, and how stupid to being with , I mean have you seen woman from Inida, their hair is AMAZING, that is one example, but woman of the world have some amazing hair!! I would think you would want that to promote your hair line.
zeze zeze 8 years
I'm wondering how they would be able to tell the Arabs from the "whites" seeing that Arabs are white for the most part, many of them with "European" traits. Whenever I hear these stories I just roll my eyes and say "that's France...."
sloane220 sloane220 8 years
@mayble-i guess you decided to let common sense escape you in a bid to make your asinine point. i think you know damn well the hair relaxers are STRONG CHEMICALS meant to straighten out tightly coiled hair, which is typically black hair. i actually have heard of (a very few) white women with extremely tightly coiled hair getting relaxers but if your hair isn't, then you PROBABLY shouldn't use one. but hey if you want to, be my guest, just be sure to send me pics of your bald head.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
There is/can be a difference between being black and African-American, that's why some people prefer to be called one over the other. It just highlights the failure of our "ethnicity coding system", both the legal and social one. Black is a term typically ascribed to Americans who are the descendants of African slaves that were brought from Africa to America. African-American, while a literally correct term (describes a person of African descent), is sometimes used to describe Americans who have more recent ancestry from Africa (such as immigrating to America in the last century). The groups have very different histories and cultures, though they both can suffer the same discrimination - because of prejudices made because of SKIN COLOR, not ETHNIC ORIGIN. About the article: Not surprised. Though most of L'Oreal's products aren't made for "ethnic" (or at least Black, again, the "ethnic" hair care section is typically for Black hair, simply because it requires very different treatment and ingredients than most other ethnicities) hair. That doesn't mean they should only market to white French people. Mayble, stop with the ignorance, please! Hair relaxers aren't racist, but they do cater to Black people because it is for Black hair. Hypnotic is right - you put a relaxer on white hair and you will NOT HAVE ANY LEFT. It's simply not made for that kind of texture. That's not racist, especially when you see the MANY hair care systems made for other kinds of hair besides Black textures. They don't "seem to cater" directly to white people, either, but I know if I put Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner on my hair, it's going to strip out - because the product is not meant for my type of hair.
eveday eveday 8 years
I'm not surprised by this. Remember the ads featuring a "whitened" Beyoncé? And I'm not talking about her hair color but the fact her skin was really, really pale in those pictures.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
What ever happened to (Afro-American) that's a hell of a lot more accurate the African-American because it's genus specific where as saying African has to do geographical origin.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
Well, catering only to white people is lame. But everyone does it in some form. There are always product geared more towards a certain race in every hair care system.
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
Flowergirl - I had a friend in high school who felt the same way. She was Jamaican, and did not like to be called 'african-american'. She preferred to be called black.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
On the surface it would appear that way, but trust honey you don't want to put relaxer that is a particular strength for Afro hair on Anglo hair. Woo! The law suits would be flyin then LOL!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
That's outrageous. What a lame @$$ excuse. Why didn't he just ask for fluent speaking French people. When I saw (shampoo) I was thinking okay some shampoos are for specific types of hair and this particular product may have been for (Anglo) hair. Still discriminatory yes but at least there would have been reason to the madness. This is just flat out discriminatory
flowergirl flowergirl 8 years
@watereatsrock's comment- I once had a classmate who did not want to be referred to as someone of "African" descent. Instead, she identified merely as "black." Anyway, just pointing out that "black" may be an acceptable ethnic identifier for some people. I didn't know this previously so I thought I'd share.
Chibirica Chibirica 8 years
I never liked L'oreal anyway, because their product is of cheap quality. Boycott!
sloane220 sloane220 8 years
i heard about this story before. apparently racism is rampant in france, particualarly in the school system and job market. i think it's sad but not shocking.
watereatsrock watereatsrock 8 years
Im soo shocked...NOT. anyway whats with the: black, Asian, or Arab?? black describes someone's skin tone while the others describe their ethnicity, thanks Pop.
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