Cosmetic giant L’Oreal drops words like ‘whitening’ from products

Jun 28, 2020
The company announced its decision in a brief statement on Saturday. Source: Getty.

L’Oreal has announced it will remove words like “whitening” and “lightening” from its skincare products, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Fresh cosmetic giant made the decision after a number of beauty brands received backlash for their skin-lightening products.

“The L’Oréal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products,” the company said in a brief statement on Saturday, according to The Guardian.

However, the move has sparked outrage among Twitter users across the globe, with the majority puzzled by the decision. @ToroczkaiLaszlo wrote: “Crazy world. L’Oréal bans the white word. I hope that they will not want to ban white people. We should ban L’Oréal.”

Meanwhile, @OlyCollins said: “I genuinely have no idea what this is trying to achieve? The word ‘white’ or ‘whitening’ surely isn’t racist it’s a colour like blue or red? If you feel you need to lose the word surely you actually need to lose the product… or not at all?” And @amysmith70 jokingly added: “So how long till we can’t whiten our teeth?”

L’Oreal is the latest brand after the likes of Johnson & Johnson and Mars, which owns Uncle Ben’s rice, to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement. And it comes just weeks after a call to rename one of Australia’s best-known cheese brands because of its controversial name sparked a heated debate online. Australian comedian Josh Thomas tweeted a photo of Coon cheese last week with the caption: “Hey Australia — are we still chill with this?”

Despite being named after American inventor Edward William Coon, who patented a unique ripening process that was used to manufacture the original cheese, in further tweets, the comedian argued that the name is offensive and disrespectful toward Indigenous Australians and should, therefore, be changed. The word is an extremely offensive slur when used to describe a black person.

“It’s amazing the respect people have for the name of a man who invented a processing technique of cheese — who died in 1934,” he wrote. “And the disrespect they have for Black people.”

He continued: “I’m not trying to cancel the cheese, I want them to change their name. The cheese stays exactly the same. Like, even if you DGAF [sic] about the Aboriginal Australians who have been called this — and the pain the word represents. Surely you can see it makes Australians look silly to the rest of the world?”

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