top of page

H&M suspends employees and aims at diversity targets after use of racial slur

Fashion company H&M said just yesterday that it has suspended several employees over the use of a racial slur relating to the name of a hat to be sold at stores of its & Other Stories brand.

It has been known that the slur in an internal H&M document was related to a hat that appeared on a list of items and accessories to be sold in the autumn/winter collection onto H&M’s website, & Other Stories which have 70 stores in 17 markets in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The H&M clothing store is seen in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, U.S. Image credit REUTERS/Mike Segar

This is not the first time that an incident like this happens. In 2018, the Swedish giant was forced to apologise for an advert that was widely perceived as using racist language and, in its statement, yesterday H&M acknowledged that it had dealt with “challenges with the diversity of some of our teams”.

H&M spokeswoman Ulrika Isaksson spoke about yesterday’s news, claiming in a written comment: “We are deeply sorry to have discovered that one of our brands, & Other Stories, used a racist slur in an internal product overview.

“We take the use of racially offensive language extremely seriously. While internal and external investigations are taking place, we have suspended the team and managers responsible for this area of the business.”

The & Other Stories fashion store in Kings Cross, north London. Image credit: Monica Wells/Alamy

H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, did not say how many employees had been suspended yet.

The company added that it would take further measures, including specific targets, for boosting diversity in its major markets by the end of 2020, and the creation of an external advisory council to consult on its business direction. Real efforts or simple marketing strategies?


bottom of page