Somehow, you just know there has to be an opening or two at the Sweden-based H&M clothing company.
Some genius at H&M apparently believed it was a good idea to feature a black child to market a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle.”
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow called attention to the ad on social media, setting off a firestorm of complaints.
“[H]ave you lost your damned minds?!?!?!” he tweeted.
. @hm, have you lost your damned minds?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/EYuCXLZtv3
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 8, 2018
Amid accusations of intentional racism, the struggling company pulled the item from its stores and issued a profound apology.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print,” H&M said, according to Bloomberg. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
NBA player LeBron James posted a revised version of the photo with the boy wearing a king’s crown on Instagram, telling H&M “[you] got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it!”
“We as African-Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong,” he added.
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@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 Sean “Diddy” Combs offered his own revised photo that featured the words “coolest king in the world.”
Canadian artist The Weeknd took to social media to announce that he was ending his collaboration with the company.
Following @HM modeling a black child in a "Coolest Monkey" sweater, @TheWeeknd has announced he will no longer be working with the brand. pic.twitter.com/VBXsAA1UBS
— REVOLT TV (@revolttv) January 8, 2018
While there are few black citizens in Sweden, the country considers itself progressive in its views.
But that liberal stance did little to quell the onslaught of attacks. Here’s a sampling of other responses to the ill-fated ad from Twitter:
H&M aint dumb. This is pure marketing. They knew we would be outraged, repost/RT on every major blog. Protest wont work cuz ppl still gonna shop at H&M. They gonna shoot us a “missed the mark” apology then move on with millions of eyes on their brand. And didnt have to pay a dime pic.twitter.com/R8FsIYUZnY
— 🗣UNCUT (@JayUncut) January 8, 2018
More casual racism from H&M. This is nothing new when it comes to these clothing companies like Abercrombie and Tommy Hilfilger who have a long history of using their products to convey racist messages. https://t.co/6XwimxngCS
— Makkim (@Makkim77) January 8, 2018
Can’t be more confused and disgusted. H&M decided to put the black boy in a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoody and the white boy in a “Survival Expert” hoody. Can’t believe it’s 2018 and this offensive sickening racism still exists. We all must boycott H&M till they apologize. pic.twitter.com/OdynDKupjS
— Wirjil (@Wirjil) January 8, 2018
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Shocked and yet also unsurprised. How many must have approved this? Beyond unacceptable; racist, crude and downright cruel to this Black child. Look forward to seeing this little man rise to heights @hm can't fathom. https://t.co/JyakBaMBjO
— kate⁷ | 💜 🐤 🌻 (@livedeliberate) January 9, 2018
So the white kid is the “survival expert” and the black kid’s “the coolest monkey in the jungle” yeah?! 2018 and we still have to bear this kind of non-sense, injustice & disrespect?! @hm please get yourself a reasonable, intelligent marketing manager ASAP!! 🤦🏽♂️ #smh pic.twitter.com/HrzuIDhT5W
— Leon Balogun (@LeonBalogun) January 8, 2018
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