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H&M Has Hired a Diversity Manager Following Its ‘Racist’ Monkey Hoodie Scandal

January 18, 2018, 10:14 AM UTC

Less than two weeks after being called out for advertising a black child model wearing a kids’ hoodie that read “coolest monkey in the jungle, H&M has appointed a diversity manager.

The Swedish retailer announced on Tuesday that it’s named Annie Wu, already the global manager for employee relations, as the group’s new global leader for diversity and inclusiveness.

“The recent incident was entirely unintentional, but it demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand,” H&M wrote in a message posted to its social media channels. “Our commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, therefore we have appointed a global leader, in this area, to drive our work forward.”

The backlash from the advertisement was severe. In at least two H&M outlets in South Africa, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party staged anti-racism protests, trashing the stores. Several celebrities, including NBA star LeBron James and rapper Diddy, expressed outrage, while others, like singer The Weeknd, canceled their partnerships with the brand. And according to the BBC, the family of the five-year-old model at the center of the controversy has been forced to move houses “for security reasons.”

In response to the outrage, H&M apologized for the incident, took down the advertisement, and pulled the hoodie from its collection.