News / Advertising

H&M appoints diversity leader after advert controversy and South Africa protests


H&M appoints diversity leader after “racist advert” controversy

H&M has appointed a global leader of diversity and inclusiveness following criticism of a “racist advert" featuring a young black boy in a green hoodie reading “coolest monkey in the jungle”. The Stockholm-based company was forced to close several of its South African shops earlier this week after protesters trashed displays and destroyed mannequins. American rappers The Weeknd and G-Eazy cancelled their partnerships with the company because of the ad.

In response, H&M announced the assignment of Annie Wu as the new global diversity leader. Annie has been with the company for six years and is currently the global manager of employee relations. The news was initially publicised on the H&M Facebook page because the company wants to prove its “commitment to addressing diverse and inclusiveness is genuine.” The global retailer also posted an image on its Instagram page of the words "we are listening” in block letters. The picture’s caption ensures H&M customers the company has learnt from its mistake: “The recent incident was entirely unintentional but it demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand… Our commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, therefore we have appointed a global leader, in this area, to drive our work forward.”