‘Bat from Wuhan’: PwC chief apologises for ‘racist and offensive’ staff event

The chief executive of PwC Australia has issued an apology for “racist and offensive” behaviour by two human resource staff members during a trivia event hosted by the Big Four company.

The virtual game of trivia in which one PwC HR executive allegedly dressed as a “bat from Wuhan”, while another mocked Chinese accents, took place at the end of last week, according to the Australian news outlet Accountants Daily, which first reported the news.

PwC has launched an investigation into the incident and has also engaged independent legal advice.

While the offensive sketches were “unintentional”, PwC Australia chief executive Tom Seymour said, he did acknowledge that they were also “thoughtless and harmful,” and caused “discomfort and offence” to event attendees after a number of them shared their “disappointment, frustration and anger.”

“I am hugely disappointed we fell short of the standard we hold ourselves to,” Seymour added.

The chief executive personally apologised to PwC staff who participated in the virtual event but the incident of racism has, according to the Australian Financial Review, left some staff disenchanted with the global consulting giant.

The investigation, which has been expedited by PwC, is expected to be closed by the end of this week and followed up with further statements regarding the incident by the Big Four firm.