The President of the French Representative Council of Black Associations has met with Reverend Al Sharpton after Jean-Paul Guerlain, the former perfumer for the Guerlain fragrance house, used a racial epithet on television, WWD reports. The council has also slammed Guerlain's parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for its lack of response after Guerlain's comments.
Patrick Lozès, president of the council, told WWD, "It has been six days since Mr. Guerlain made these comments, and for six long days LVMH has not moved to distance itself from them." Lozès also mentioned that he talked about the topic with Sharpton, who will travel to Paris in early November.
Lozès added, "All of the major civil rights leaders told me: 'This is not the image we have of France.'"
Last Friday, Jean-Paul Guerlain used a racial epithet on French TV while discussing the making of his fragrance Samsara, saying:
"One day I told her -- and I still called her Madame -- 'What would seduce you if one was to make a perfume for you?' and she told me, 'I love jasmine, rose and sandalwood.' And for once I started working like a [racial epithet]. I don't know if [racial epithet] ever worked that hard."
Jean-Paul Guerlain later apologized via a statement reading, "My words do not reflect in any way my profound thoughts but are due to an inopportune misspeaking which I vividly regret." And the Guerlain brand was quick to point out that he retired from the company in 2002 and hasn't been a shareholder since 1996.
On Wednesday, the Guerlain house released another statement. According to WWD:
The company asserted that Guerlain's comments were "intolerable" and went against the "culture, values, and ethics practiced by the enterprise, which promotes the diversity of talents of all origins."
The Association of United African Nations will hold a silent march outside Guerlain's Champs-Elysées store on Saturday and has been vocal about customers boycotting the label's products.