The CEO of John Hancock's parent company apologized, then hosted an employee forum on diversity, after a video was released showing senior management rapping in hoodies and dark shades, in a scene that wouldn't be out of place in The Office. The video shared on the company's internal site on Dec. 12 was meant to be "lighthearted" and "reinforce the approachability" of senior management, Manulife Financial said Monday in a statement, per the Boston Globe. While some employees appreciated the attempt to "poke fun at ourselves," CEO Roy Gori noted others found the video "upsetting." Indeed, the Globe reports John Hancock employees took to an internal chat network to describe the video as misguided and racist.
The video featuring "mostly white managers" was "the third in an annual series featuring different music genres," per Bloomberg, which reports it was quickly retracted. Gori then flew to John Hancock's Boston headquarters to host a forum on diversity and inclusion practices, per the Globe. "Please know it was not our intention to offend anyone," he later wrote, per the Daily Beast. "We deeply regret this and apologize to those who were offended." In its Monday statement, Manulife acknowledged the video had been a mistake. The insurance company strives "to have an environment where all employees are treated with respect and dignity, and the recent video clearly didn't meet that objective," it said. (Read more apology stories.)