H&M is facing accusations of racism after featuring a photo of a black boy wearing a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie.
The product, a “printed hooded top,” is still available on the clothing retailer’s website but the “inappropriate, offensive, and racist” advertisement has since been removed after it was spotted over the weekend by social media users, including advocacy group Models of Diversity, which tweeted, “And then H&M UK got the bright idea to feature a black boy model with ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ hoodie on its website. How on earth can this be? SHAME ON YOU!” Others, like New York Times columnist Charles Blow, asked if H&M “lost your damned minds,” while designer Alex Medina added, “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.”
On Monday, H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson said in a statement, “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.” If only they had gone with the “fixed” version.
This isn’t the first time an advertisement has been called racist: last year, soap giant Dove removed a campaign showing a black woman removing her dark shirt to magically transform into a redheaded white woman with fair skin.