H&M Hires Diversity Leader in Response to Controversy
H&M says it has appointed a diversity leader after having been accused of racism over an ad showing a black child dressed in a hoodie reading “coolest monkey in the jungle,” reports The Seattle Times. The Swedish fashion retailer said late Tuesday on its Facebook page that the group's “commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, therefore we have appointed a global leader in this area to drive our work forward.” H&M reiterated “the recent incident was entirely unintentional” but “demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand.” The incident has damaged the retailer in reputation as well as partnerships. American music artists The Weeknd and G-Eazy have canceled partnerships with H&M. In the days following the ad, protests broke out at some H&M storefronts.
Total Retail's Take: Is this too little too late? H&M is taking steps to make sure an incident like this never happens again, however, immense damage has already been done to the brand. Step one is owning the mistake and apologizing for it; step two is making sure it never happens again. That’s especially true as social media makes it possible for an ad posted in one country to be shared and viewed anywhere else in the world. Let's hope H&M's hiring of a diversity leader will help the retailer make sure something like this doesn't happen again.