H&M Apologizes For Featuring Black Model In A Hoodie Labeled “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle”
H&M felt the wrath of Twitter last night when several of its users noticed a disturbing image on the retail giant’s UK website – A Black child model wearing a green hoodie that read, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle.” In response, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow plainly wrote, “@hm, have you lost your damn minds?”
Others wanted to know the answer to that question as well. Not only was the image of the child offensive, but the narrative that it painted turned that image into blatant racism. On another page, a white child modeled a hoodie that said, “Survival Expert.” Hmm…doesn’t take a genius here to realize what this “theme” is communicating. Selena Arianela, another outraged Twitter user, saw right through this, writing:
Blow, in another tweet, also addressed the distinction between what the two child models were wearing.
Others on Twitter made their voices heard by educating H&M on the dark history of using “monkey” to dehumanize Black people, some making it clear that if the image of the Black child model was not removed, then a boycott would be in order:
It is not clear how long the ad was up, but according to The Evening Standard, the Sweden-based company has apologized. An H&M spokeswoman said: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.” The picture of the model was replaced earlier today with a generic photo of the green sweatshirt.
After hearing of the incident, singer The Weeknd announced that he will no longer be working with the brand.