Canada-based Manulife Financial Corp's chief executive Roy Gori (pictured) has issued an apology after an internal video "offended" some employees. The rap video was released internally as part of a year end message, and featured executives dressed in hoodies and sunglasses. According to Bloomberg, the video comprised of mainly white senior level executives, and erupts at a time cultural misappropriation and workplace diversity is being heavily discussed.
In the article, Gori said in an emailed statement that the company "regrets" making the video and has taken it down from all of its own internal platforms. He added that a forum was held to personally apologise to all employees, as well as to hear their concerns. “We strive to have an environment where all employees are treated with respect and dignity, and the recent video clearly didn’t meet that objective,” the statement read. Marketing has reached out to Manulife Financial Corp for comment.
A local publication Boston Globe reported that Manulife Financial Corp was alerted by its subsidiary John Hancock, as the latter's employees too raised concerns about the "misguided and racist" video. The media outlet explained that the video included a label titled "Straight Outta Costfit", in a font similar to hip hop film on gangster rap Straight Outta Compton. However, Gori said that the intention of the video was to display the "approachability” of senior management through a "lighthearted" approach.
A "lighthearted" rap video turned wrong is however not pertinent only in Canada. Just last week, the Hong Kong government's Information Services Department released a rap music with the theme of “See the clear picture”. The lyrics condemn violence inflicted by protesters and asks the public to “see the clear picture of the reality”. However it did not sit well with audiences, as netizens posted comments that were written equivalent of eye-rolls. Among the mocking, there was also a smattering of comments supporting the Hong Kong government.