A video of the incident, taken during a team-building exercise in Birmingham, was published by The Sun on Tuesday. The bank tweeted:
Once we saw this abhorrent video released by @TheSun we took the decision to sack the individuals involved. We apologise for any offence.— HSBC UK Press Office (@HSBC_UK_Press) July 6, 2015
HSBC reaffirmed its view in a statement, which said: "We do not tolerate inappropriate behaviour. As soon as The Sun brought this video to our attention we took the decision to sack the individuals involved. This is an abhorrent video and HSBC would like to apologise for any offence."
HSBC received some support for its decision:
But some high profile commentators did not focus on HSBC’s fast and decisive action, but instead made a comparison with its treatment of more senior members of staff during the banking crisis who were found to have been involved in tax evasion. Others saw it as appeasing The Sun.
Journalist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted:
Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper responded, apparently in agreement, saying:
@JuliaHB1 it's a brave new world— Yveette Copper (@YvetteCooper_MP) July 6, 2015
Other tweets were also disparaging:
PRWeek asked to speak to HSBC but received no response at the time of publication.