An unequivocal apology has been issued by Home Depot following a racist Tweet sent from its own official Twitter account.The Tweet depicted a man in a gorilla mask alongside two African-Americans.
The picture was of two African-American drummers and a person in a gorilla mask standing between them. The offensive caption accompanying the strange picture read: "Which drummer is not like the others?"
The Tweet was part of a "College Gameday" football promotion on ESPN. It was immediately pulled by the Home Depot Twitter account administrators but not before Twitterers took screen shots of the racist Tweet and circulated them on the internet.
Following reports about the racist Tweet from NCB and CNBC, Home Depot apologized.
Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Home Depot Inc., said: "We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive."
The company took swift action and announced that it had fired the person responsible for the Tweet. They did not reveal the name to the media.
Holmes said that Home Depot is reviewing its social media procedures to see "how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again."
A branding expert from Landor Associates, Allen Adamson, said that the racist Tweet was the worst scenario for Home Depot. He said it sends: "the worst possible message Home Depot can send out... even if it gets attributed to stupidity."
Adamson continued: "In a Twitter world where everyone can see everything instantly I think you'll see more rather than less of this because people tweet before they think."
It remains to been seen whether the firing of the person who sent the Tweet, as well as the clear Home Depot apology, will be enough to curtail the negative effects of the incident on their customers.