The international backlash H&M received for modeling a black boy in a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie led to the company appointing a diversity leader.
H&M made the announcement Tuesday (Jan. 16) on Facebook. NBC News reports the Global Manager for Employee Relations Annie Wu would be the new global leader in diversity and inclusiveness. She’s been with the Swedish company since 2012, according to The Root, and previously served as director of labor relations for New York City’s Department of Homeless Services.
The controversy led to peaceful protests outside an H&M store in South Africa but was left ransacked on the inside. Since then, the company decided to temporarily close all South African branches. H&M’s South Africa has also agreed to meet with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, a non-governmental organization that demanded H&M executives go through “compulsory anti-racism and diversity training,” according to Quartz Africa.
Several celebrities and influencers have cut ties with the company because of the controversy. We spoke with four H&M employees to hear their opinions.