‘We recognise that we’ve extra work to do,’ says agency’s UK chairman

The screensaver quote

Gowling WLG has apologised after pc screensavers in its Canadian workplace describing a black man as “very good and very well mannered” drew criticism on-line.

Gowling tweeted on Monday calling for agency members in Canada to share what black historical past and tradition imply to them, in recognition of Black Historical past Month, which is widely known within the month of February in Canada.

One assertion made by a agency member surfaced on social media, and was broadly condemned by customers for showing to be “tone-deaf” and perpetuating anti-black stereotypes.

“My daughter conjures up me so much. When she was youthful, she typically spoke of her good friend Daniel,” learn the quote (screenshot prime). “At some point, my husband and I attended an occasion at her college and eventually received to fulfill Daniel. He was very good and very well mannered; my grandmother would have stated he was ‘properly introduced up’. By no means in the course of the course of her friendship with Daniel did my daughter point out he was black. That evening, I went to sleep with the hope that in the future, race-based conflicts would perpetually be behind us.”

One consumer tweeted in response, “let’s do some difficulty recognizing collectively on why this quote from one in every of your workers ought to have been left on the cutting-room flooring”, whereas one other paraphrased, “‘our firm is so dedicated to range, that one in every of our workers has a child with a black good friend!’”

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Gowling WLG tweeted on Wednesday: “We apologise for our screensaver message that appeared on this submit. It doesn’t mirror our values. The message has been taken down and we’re reaching out to all of our folks to take heed to their views and study from this matter.”

Andy Stylianou, chairman of Gowling WLG UK and the agency’s lead on range and inclusion, stated in an announcement:

“We’re deeply sorry {that a} submit that doesn’t mirror our values appeared on an inner community in Canada on Wednesday. We apologise for the offence this has prompted folks and have eliminated the submit. We’re additionally talking with our folks to make sure their voices and views on this are heard, and so we are able to study from this matter. Addressing racism in society requires a collective effort and we actively encourage our colleagues to change into allies. Nevertheless, we recognise that we’ve extra work to do to coach, upskill and empower them.”

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter