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H&M suspends employees over the use of racial slur

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h&mAn internal image was submitted last month to the apparel company & other stories in a product summary program called a purple hat as ‘Nigga Lab Beanie.’ They released a companywide apology and never made the title public despite a complaint from the employees. The company said it was looking at the name of the hat with the racial slur. Helena Helmersson, CEO of the parent company H&M, says the team including the managers responsible was disrupted during the rehearsal. The company was discontinued as well.

“We are deeply sorry about the word connected to an image of a product that was sent out to our stores during July,” Stories’ Managing Director Karolina Gutke, wrote in memo to employees on July 21. “This is completely unacceptable and there is no excuse to why this happened.” “We take the use of racially inappropriate language extremely seriously. Although the word was never printed on an actual product, the use of the word was completely unacceptable and is inexcusable,” the statement read.

H&M Group confirmed the slur appeared on a list in July of all the clothing items and accessories to be sold for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. The list was uploaded to an internal system and under each product was the internal name of the item — a kind of codename used only by the company. The captions are created and uploaded by design and buying teams — and have to be approved by multiple people before they hit the server, the employees said. H&M Group says name with the slur originated in the & Other Stories Paris Atelier.

“Clearly these were not followed, and we are currently investigating why. We will take the strongest possible action – to ensure that racially divisive language or images are not used again,” the company said in its statement. Although the responsible designers have been suspended, Chief Diversity Officer Annie Wu says she would like to eventually see them terminated following a fair investigation.

” I am super angry and ashamed that something like this could even happen,” Wu said in an interview with CNN Business. “I would want to see them terminated because there’s no excuse for it.” H&M Group says instructions were given to remove the image from the server and any physical copies already printed.

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