Over the weekend, H&M published an image of an African-American child sporting a green hoodie which reads: “coolest monkey in the jungle” on the British version of its website. From Sunday to Monday, it quickly garnered social media condemnation.
Users criticized H&M for being tone-deaf, shockingly ignorant, and racist. Some even called for a boycott of the brand.
In the last 48 hours, celebrities from all over, including The Weeknd, who collaborated with H&M before, have taken to social media to bash the Swedish-based retailer for its poor choice.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
NBA star LeBron James posted a revamped image of the child model, sporting a crown on his head and a crown logo on his sweatshirt. He tweeted that what he saw was ‘a Young King’ and speaking up against racism and for his people.
@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️
Rapper Diddy posted an image by Akomicsart in which the artist revised the hoodie to read “coolest king in the world.” Diddy tweeted: “Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful.”
Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QVaxgngwh1
— Diddy (@Diddy) January 8, 2018
All other sweaters in the same category have caucasian children, and in this day and age, the lack of awareness the retailer showed in the post is hardly believable. H&M officially apologized as early as Monday, sending out the following statement:
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. 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. The image has now removed from all H&M channels, and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.”
This public strike comes right after H&M just announced its lowest earnings in December. They’ve trimmed expansion plans and might even close some shops.
This article was inspired by CNBC // LeBron James, Diddy, and other celebrities rebuke H&M for ‘monkey’ hoodie