Tuesday, 9 January 2018

H&M Apologizes for ‘Monkey’ Image Featuring Black Child



The clothing retailer H&M apologized on Monday for an image appearing in its online store that showed a black child model wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The company removed the image on Monday and said it would also pull the shirt from its stores worldwide.

The image was widely criticized online for its reference to a monkey, an animal that has long featured in racial and ethnic slurs. The Weeknd, a Canadian pop star of Ethiopian descent, was one of those who criticized the clothing giant, writing on Twitter that he would decline to work with the company in the future.


The ad sparked a backlash on social media, with some calling it inappropriate, disgusting and negligent.

The image of the model in the green hoodie has been removed from the H&M website; two similar designs modelled by white children remain.

One bears the words “Mangrove jungle” and “Official survival expert”; the other has outlines of various animals including giraffes and tigers.



 


The Labour MP Kate Osamor tweeted: “I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least, to find this online imagine. hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?”

Alex Medina, who works in brand design, tweeted: “In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If you look at other sweaters in same category, they have white kids. We have to do better.”

A person tweeting under the handle vulkaanrots said they would boycott the store: “So the black kid gets to wear the H&M sweater with ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’ and the white kid with ‘Survival expert’. This is beyond disgusting.

“It’s a projection of your neocolonial thinking. You won’t see me anywhere near your shops these days hm.”

A spokeswoman for the retailer said: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”

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