H&M Tries to Repair `Monkey' Ad Fallout With New Diversity Role

(Bloomberg) -- Hennes & Mauritz AB is working overtime to try to fix the damage done to its reputation by an advertisement in which a black child sported a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

After a social media storm and anti-racist protests in South Africa targeting H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer said it “reached out, around the world, inside and outside H&M to get feedback,” according to a post on its Facebook page.

In an effort to ensure there’s no repeat, H&M has now appointed a global head of diversity and inclusiveness, it said. Annie Wu will be based at the company’s Stockholm headquarters. Her most recent role was as H&M’s global manager for employee relations.

“The recent incident was entirely unintentional, but it demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand,” the company said on Facebook.

H&M was quick to apologize for the image and pulled the garments in question from its stores.

“We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable,” H&M said earlier this week. “We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.”

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