The Swedish multinational retail store, H&M, has been caught under fire following a regrettable ad campaign which was on its United Kingdom website. The ad displaying a black child wearing a hoodie printed “Coolest Monkey in the jungle” since gone viral, and was seen as “racist”, “poor taste” and bad marketing.
H&M issued a public apology, stating that: “We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering…”
The brand’s ambassadors, The Weeknd and G-Eazy, have terminated their partnership with the company following this incident.
This is not the first racial uproar involving H&M – in 2015, H&M South Africa was criticised for lack of black models in their photo-shoots, to which H&M responded that: “White models convey a more positive image than that of black models.”
It appeared as if the apology was not enough, as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters took to the H&M stores across the country. See below:
Look at the lawlessness!!! This is at H&M pic.twitter.com/UvpHEYS9dQ
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) January 13, 2018
Multiple videos of EFF supporters vandalizing the Sandton City H&M are circulating on social media, with the party chief-in-commander, Julius Malema, briefing the media and stating that this is how the EFF will be reacting towards racists in South Africa…
The global franchise released a second statement, mentioning it is aware of protests in South Africa, as a result, will be temporarily closing all the H&M stores in the region.
— H&M (@hm) January 13, 2018
H&M further pleaded that their staff in local stores had nothing to do with the brand’s poor judgment of producing the hoodie and the image.