H&M hires global diversity leader after racist jumper backlash

H&M diversity

H&M has appointed a diversity manager in response to the global backlash it endured from using a black child to advertise a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

The Swedish fashion giant said Annie Wu, currently H&M’s global manager for employee relations, will become its new global leader for diversity and inclusiveness for the H&M Group and will be based at the retailer’s headquarters in Stockholm.

H&M has not yet revealed exactly her job would entail, but a spokeswoman for the company said Wu would continue in her job as global manager for employee relations.

Wu’s appointment occurs just days after the company faced intense criticism on social media for its racist ad featuring a black child wearing a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

H&M took down the ad and no longer sells the hoodie, which it said it “recycled”.

The retailer also apologised for the incident on January 9: “We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.”

Nonetheless, since the ad emerged there have been boycott threats, celebrities like The Weeknd and G-Eazy have cut their business ties with the retailer, and some H&M stores – especially in South Africa – were ransacked amid protests.

“The recent incident was entirely unintentional, but it demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand,” H&M said in a message posted on Facebook.

“Our commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, therefore we have appointed a global leader, in this area, to drive our work forward.”

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