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- A Lowe’s executive apologized after The Washington Post published a pre-recorded corporate video in which he discussed the consumer preferences of Hispanic customers.
- Joe McFarland, executive vice president of stores, was recorded saying that a compact DeWalt power drill was “perfect” for Hispanic shoppers with “small hands.”
- The Lowe’s executive apologized on Tuesday for the “careless and ignorant” comment.
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A Lowe’s executive apologized after saying that a product was “perfect” for Hispanic home improvement professionals with “small hands” during a pre-recorded corporate broadcast.
The Washington Post published the broadcast on Tuesday, reporting that the video was broadcast to Lowe’s managers across the country. The footage depicts Joe McFarland, executive vice president of stores, discussing the $99 DeWalt 12-volt cordless drill.
“That thing is compact,” McFarland said in the video. “Fits anywhere. Small hands. So those customers that really have the affinity towards Makita. Some of our Hispanic pros with smaller hands, this is perfect for them. Lifetime warranty on this thing, what else could you want?”
Makita is a Japanese power tool company.
“I am sorry for a careless and ignorant comment I made during an associate broadcast yesterday,” McFarland said in a statement to the Washington Post. “Our associates shared how my statement was harmful and inappropriate. This is a key reflection moment for me.”
Lowe’s did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
A Lowe’s employee told Business Insider that news of the controversial footage sparked a discussion in their store, in which workers spoke of their growing resentment toward Lowe’s executives in the wake of a series of layoffs.
The controversy comes about as the blue-branded home improvement retailer seeks to woo back pro shoppers from Home Depot by enhancing merchandise offerings and marketing, Lowe’s CMO Jocelyn Wong previously told Business Insider.
McFarland himself is relatively new to Lowe’s, and his LinkedIn profile reveals a job history closely tied to current CEO Marvin Ellison. Both executives were longtime Home Depot employees. In 2015, McFarland went to work at JCPenney, a year after Ellison took the helm at the department store. McFarland then followed Ellison to Lowe’s in 2018.