H&M has apologized today for using a black child to sell a hooded sweatshirt that has "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle" printed across the front. The image which only appeared on the British H&M website threw Twitter into a flurry, citing that monkey has long been a racial slur for black people.
This was only exacerbated by the fact that the white children modeling hoodies wore more innocuous prints such as "Survival Expert".
In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better. pic.twitter.com/Av4bS4t6yn— alex medina (@mrmedina) January 8, 2018
Following the backlash, musician The Weeknd has cut ties with the brand. Starting in 2017 the singer modeled for H&M and also collaborated with them for his brand XO.
H&M has since removed the image (the product is still for sale but without the offending image), and has issued the following statement:
We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. We have removed the image from all our channels and the sweater is no longer for sale in our stores. We will also look into our internal routines to avoid such situations in the future. We will continue the discussion with the Weeknd and his team separately.
Not everyone on Twitter responded in anger though...
H&M: we need you to wear a sweater that says "coolest monkey"
Me: hell nah
H&M: we paying 7 billion
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