H&M had a rough start into the new year as racism charges hit regarding their insensitive ad for children’s clothing. The international retailer apologized after major backlash from social media users over the weekend.
The internet was angered by the offensive ad that appeared on H&M’s UK page. The ad featured a black child wearing a green hooded sweatshirt with the message “coolest monkey in the jungle” splayed in the front which drew racist speculations against the company. Social media users requested an apology from the brand and expressed their anger on Twitter regarding the racist ad.
The image spread widely over social media this past weekend as New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow tweeted the brand saying, “. @hm, have you lost your damned minds?!?!?!” Users all over the world responded, agreeing with the ethnic insensitivity the company represented by styling the black child in that sweatshirt.
H&M issued an apology statement via e-mail to media relations. The fact that people had to request an apology is what angered much of the internet, indicating that their marketing media relations failed to notice the insensitive reference.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. 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.”
As of Monday, Jan. 8, the company removed the image from the website. Disappointed customers claim they will no longer shop at H&M in support of the boycott. Although some users defended the brand and others were against it, both parties would agree that the brand should have known better.
Update: The Weeknd cut ties with H&M, announcing on Twitter that he, “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”