Bose has said it has “nothing to do with race” after it was criticised for hiring an African-American executive who allegedly referred to a white woman who died in the US as “the devil”.
The controversial Bose CEO Mark Bose said in a statement on Tuesday that the company “takes very seriously its diversity and inclusion policy”, adding that it was a “non-discriminatory practice”.
The executive was hired in February, a month after the death of former US astronaut Sally Ride, whose remains were discovered in a mountain in Oregon.
“I don’t think the statement made by Mr Bose should be construed as any indication of a company’s attitude to race in general,” Bose wrote.
“We are committed to ensuring our team members are treated with respect and dignity, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity.”
Mr Boses’ comments sparked outrage on social media.
The hashtag #Boseisracist was used to share images of the Bose executive and the word “racist”.
The hashtag, #BosaRacism, was also used by people to voice their opposition to the company’s hiring.
“This is not the first time the company has been criticized for hiring someone who is insensitive to the suffering of other human beings,” said Katherine Covington, president of the National Council of La Raza.
“But this time is especially egregious because it is the latest example of a racist company that is hiring someone from a racial group that does not share its company’s values.”
In a statement to Al Jazeera, Bose acknowledged that it had “a diversity policy that prohibits hiring people of a particular race or ethnicity”.
“The Bose team is made up of individuals of all backgrounds, genders and orientations, and we work with our team leaders to ensure that they are comfortable, knowledgeable and engaged with their team,” the company said.
“As a company we take very seriously our diversity and inclusive policy, which is also non-discripen… we are committed, as we have been since the inception of the company, to ensuring that our team represents the diverse range of our customers.”
Bose did not comment on the controversy on Tuesday.
“While we have made it clear that our policy on race does not require us to hire people based on race, we also make it clear to our employees that they should not use the word ‘racist’ in their daily work and to our customers,” the statement continued.
Bose is a global leader in the design and manufacture of audio products, including earbuds and earphones.
The company is the second largest maker of wireless earbud technology in the world.
BOSE founder Mark Bole, who died of lung cancer in 2015, is seen here in a file photo.