Home Depot says Canadian worksheet on 'unpacking privilege' was unauthorized after conservatives accuse company of going 'woke'

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Conservatives are slamming Home Depot on Twitter.Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Conservatives on Twitter are bashing Home Depot, accusing it of going "woke."

  • A photo of an internal Home Depot worksheet about privilege has gone viral.

  • The home improvement company told Insider the worksheet was unauthorized.

Home Depot addressed on Wednesday a worksheet defining privilege circulating on social media, noting that the material was an unauthorized document from the retailer's Canadian division.

A day earlier, the "Libs of TikTok" account — an anonymous Twitter handle devoted to mocking liberals — tweeted out a picture of a Home Depot-branded worksheet about "unpacking privilege," saying the home improvement company had "gone woke."

The sheet defines privilege as "a special benefit or advantage that may be earned or unearned" and describes several types of privilege, including social privilege, white privilege, able-bodied privilege, and cisgender privilege. The tweet went viral, with some Twitter users threatening to avoid shopping at Home Depot in the future.

The sniping at Home Depot earned a backlash of its own. Many commentators saw no issue with a company internally sharing guidelines around fostering tolerance and empathy in the workplace.

But a representative for the home improvement retailer told Insider that the printed material was not an official in-house training material. The worksheet came from the company's Canadian division, according to the representative. They said it was never featured in any company-wide trainings, and did not receive approval from Home Depot's department around corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion.

"While we fully support diversity across our company, this material was not created or approved by our corporate diversity, equity and inclusion department," a Home Depot spokesperson told Insider. "This was a resource in our Canadian division and not part of any required programming."

In February, the New York Post interviewed the anonymous woman behind the Libs of TikTok account. She described herself as running a "mini Project Veritas." The concept of privilege, especially as it pertains to racism and critical race theory, has become a cultural flashpoint for the right in the US. Conservative politicians have used the concept as a means of ginning up their base, and have attempted to instigate book bans and pass laws to stifle classroom discussions about race.

This is not the first time that Home Depot has come under fire over politics. In the past, liberal-leaning social media users disavowed the home improvement giant because two out of the company's four founders — Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone — vocally support conservative politicians and provide donations for right-leaning causes. Another founder, Arthur Blank, is a Democrat who has long supported more left-leaning politicians.

Insider previously examined the Federal Election Commission data for Home Depot and its rival Lowe's, and found that both companies predominantly donate to Republican federal candidates, just like most large retailers.

Read the original article on Business Insider