The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

A Division of L'Oreal Found Guilty of Racism

We were dismayed to learn recently that a division of cosmetics giant L'Oréal was found guilty of racial discrimination after it sought to exclude non-white women from promoting its shampoo.

In recruiting young women to hand out samples and discuss hairstyling with shoppers, L'Oreal unit Garnier stipulated women should be 18 to 22, size 38-42 (UK size 10-14) and "BBR", the initials for bleu, blanc, rouge, the colours of the French flag. It's well-known the code BBR means "white" French people and not those of north African, African and Asian backgrounds.

The company's official website features, for lack of a better word, a non-Caucasian model on the homepage. Then we clicked over to the Garnier - France website, which has a Flash intro featuring three more non-Caucasian models. When were these images put up? We can't say—elsewhere on the L'Oréal site you can find actress Penelope Cruz and singer Beyonce Knowles as spokesmodels.

At the same time, we wouldn't be surprised if the company's PR department is taking immediate steps to cover their derrières. And patch things up they must, because there's no excuse for racial discrimination in employment. It's a widespread problem, and it's not just in France. We hope this ruling sends the message that this kind of backward thinking is, quite simply, unacceptable.

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