The Home Depot received backlash when it released what many are considering to be a racist tweet sent out by the company on Twitter which showed two African American drummers flanking a man wearing a gorilla mask.
According to NBC Connecticut , the tweet was deleted by the company, but not before it was retweeted and sent to the NAACP’s Twitter account by an angry Twitter user.
Home Depot then apologized saying the tweet was “dumb” and told followers they have “zero tolerance for anything stupid or offensive.”
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
In their message they also informed followers they fired their agency and the individual who posted it.
One of its followers on Twitter asked Home Depot to post the name of the agency so they don’t use them, others said they were boycotting Home Depot because a “simple apology can’t cut it anymore.”
@HomeDepot – What I’d really like you to do it post the agency’s name so no one ever uses them again.
— Jack D. Whackobird (@Just_a_Texan) November 7, 2013
Who all is willing to boycott @HomeDepot for that tweet? A simple apology can’t cut it anymore
— M (@The_Lion_) November 7, 2013
According to Deborah Ellis, founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting, Home Depot made the right move in firing the agency.
“When you are hiring an agency, they are representing your company, your agency should know better,” said Ellis. “They hired a brand agency to further their brand image not destroy it.”
Ellis said there isn’t any way to prevent something like this from happening, they aren’t any guarantees that it won’t happen. However, there needs to be good communication with the team that is managing a merchant’s social media presence.
Ellis added, “There needs to be social media policy guidelines that clearly defines what is expected, said Ellis.
“You do need that social media policy in effect, you need a plan of action for when it occurs and Home Depot handled it very well,” said Ellis.
She also recommended that should this happen to other merchants, do not panic because we have yet to see an occurrence where a misstep in social media that was corrected has had a detrimental effect on a company.