Worldwide clothing brand H&M didn’t kick off 2018 the way they had hoped.
Last weekend, the Swedish clothier released its new ad campaign but decided to remove one of the images by Monday afternoon after an incredible public backlash ensued over a photo that was called “racist” by the thousands who viewed it.
The controversy involved this photo:
@hm this is disgusting & irresponsible. You know the history of racist using the term “monkey” to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website! ???? “Coolest Monkey In the Jungle” #SMH pic.twitter.com/IY877D2d8R
— Karamo Brown (@KaramoBrown) January 8, 2018
As you can see, the photo shows a little boy wearing a new H&M green hoodie with the words “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” emblazoned across the chest.
It’s not the adorable little boy or the shade of green that had people up in arms, it’s the fact that a black boy would wear a shirt proclaiming to be a monkey when it’s no secret the word “monkey” has been used as a racist slur for decades.
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
Social media users began calling out the clothier including several people of color. They even had one major celebrity express his disgust and promise not to work with the company ever again.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
H&M removed the offensive advert but took a minute to release a statement.
They did, however, issue an apology. The mother of the little boy apparently doesn’t think they should have apologized and definitely doesn’t think anyone should be offended by the image.