H&M apologises for racist ad


Global fashion retailer H&M was forced to offer an apology after posting an online advertisement featuring a black child modelling a sweatshirt which read, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

A statement by the renowned brand read, “We sincerely apologise for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States.”

It further read, “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”

Outrage over the advertisement sparked on social media after users noticed it on H&M’s UK website. The particular hooded sweatshirt featured a young black child, while other sweatshirts from the same line were advertised on white models.

Social media users on Twitter accused the brand of racism, and even profiting from any resulting online backlash this incident may cause. One woman, who said she had worked for H&M, claimed that the Sweden-based retailer is sometimes “clueless” to issues of “racism, cultural & social challenges.”

Other users took the issue further featuring the white child, who was wearing an orange hoodie with the text “survival expert” and “junior tour guide,” next to the black one alleging that it was a deliberate move to pair those children in with their sweaters.

However, a couple of commenters defended the brand. One believed that people who were outraged by the hoodie were “looking to be offended,” while another alleged that those same people were reading something into the sweatshirt’s message that H&M didn’t intend.

Many others also called for a boycott of H&M entirely, and R&B artist The Weeknd, who earlier partnered with the retailer on a line of apparel, announced he would no longer be working with the company via a tweet which read, “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore.”

H&M has since removed the offending image from its website, although the sweater is still available for purchase on its UK site.

The outrage over H&M’s advertisement follows several similar incidents involving major brands in recent months. In early October, Dove apologized for “missing the mark” with a Facebook ad for body wash, which showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman underneath. And later that month, Nivea was accused of racism after promoting a skin cream for “visibly fairer skin” in several African countries.