As of this writing, the last 79 tweets from home improvement giant The Home Depot have been apologies.
They are in regard to this tweet right here, since deleted:
There was an almost immediate backlash from The Home Depot’s 160,000+ Twitter followers, especially from African-Americans.
The tweet went viral and caught the attention of the corporation, which promptly freaked out. Someone in communications deleted the tweet and image, and sent out a stream of apologies. The incorrect spacing in the first replies suggests it was being handled as quickly as possible.
Within a couple hours, the account tweeted this:
We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive. Deeply sorry. We terminated agency and individual who posted it.
— The Home Depot (@HomeDepot) November 7, 2013
Some Twitter users felt the racism of the tweet was being projected onto it, but corporate’s heavy-handed response validates that, whether it was intentional or not, the tweet was a huge mistake.
“We’re also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again,” Stephen Holmes, The Home Depot’s director of corporate communications, wrote to Business Insider in an email.
As part of the company’s sponsorship of ESPN’s College Game Day, The Home Depot toured their “Bucket Brigade,” a group of percussionists using the store’s signature paint buckets as their instruments. The Home Depot has made any promotional video in which this group appears private, meaning you can no longer watch them perform Clemson’s fight song on YouTube.
The guy dressed as a chimp is likely a college student who dressed up to appear on television.
It’s also not the first time the Brigade and a costumed fan appeared in a promoted photo:
It is impossible to determine whether there was any malice behind the chimp suit tweet or just an ignorance of how easily people could take it the wrong way. The Home Depot will not reveal the name of the agency responsible.
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