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Posted: January 08, 2018

H&M apologizes for image of black child in ‘coolest monkey’ hoodie

H&M has apologized for an image depicting a black child model with a hoodie reading,
Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images for H&M/Getty Images for H&M
H&M has apologized for an image depicting a black child model with a hoodie reading, "Coolest monkey in the jungle."

By Nedra Rhone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

UPDATE, Jan. 9:

A day after fallout from an image showing a black child model posing in a hoodie that read, “coolest monkey in the jungle,”H&M has issued an apology in a statement on Twitter.

“We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree,” the retailer said in a statement.

“We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garnment from our product offering.

“It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.” 

The statement comes after criticism of the image, regarded as racist because of the association of an African-American with “monkey,” commonly considered a racial slur directed toward people of African descent.

Musician The Weekend said he would no longer work with the brand after seeing the image.

“I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore,” he wrote.

Business Insider reported that The Weeknd worked with the brand on a collection of clothes last year.

“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,” H&M said in a statement to Business Insider. “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.”

ORIGINAL STORY, Jan. 8:

Fast-fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, was widely criticized on social media over the weekend for posing a black child model in a hoodie that read, “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

“Monkey” has long been considered a racial slur directed to people of African descent.

On Monday morning, the image had been removed from the website and H&M issued an apology.

“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended,” H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson said, according to CNN Money.

>> Read more trending news 

The image had appeared on H&M’s e-commerce site in the UK and was quickly shared on Twitter, with many comments labeling the ad and the company racist or racially insensitive.

Others suggested it may have been a careless mistake, but one that the company should have immediately noticed and corrected. Still others said that the critics were reading too much into the image and being too politically correct.

One post in response to the chatter featured an H&M image of a young Asian model wearing a sweatshirt with a tiger, suggesting that H&M has shown its racial insensitivity in the past. Several others who commented felt the parents of the young boy in the photo are to blame for not speaking up during the photo shoot. 

Sir Maejor, the president of Black Lives Matter Greater Atlanta, called for a boycott of the stores, which includes more than one dozen locations in metro Atlanta. The King Center tweeted that companies should invest in cultural competency and sensitivity training. 

It isn’t the first time the Swedish company has run into charges of racial insensitivity. In 2015, the brand came under fire after launching its first store in South Africa with a noticeable lack of diversity. All of the models were white, and the company apologized after sending a tweet suggesting that those models offered a more positive representation of the company. 


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