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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Clothing Giant H&M Apologizes For Featuring Black Boy in a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” Hoodie

Screenshot of the H&M website featuring a black boy in a "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" hoodie

Nationwide — Multi-national clothing retail company, H&M, has received sharp criticism from the public following a “racist” photo of a young black boy wearing a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie featured on their website.

The hoodie, listed as printed hooded top on the store’s UK website, gained negative feedback after social media users such as blogger Stephanie Yeboah noticed it on Sunday and shared a screen capture of it that went viral.

H&M, a Swedish company, apologized on Monday morning for what many have said is an insensitive correlation between the young black model and a typical hateful insult against Black people.

“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended,” the company said in a brief statement from its Stockholm headquarters.

Many celebrities, personalities, and groups reacted to the issue.

Musician The Weeknd cut ties with the brand and tweeted, “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”

Basketball superstar LeBron James also called out the image on his Instagram post. He posted the picture with the phrase on the hoodie covered with the crown and with the words “King of the World.” The caption says, “@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!!”

Models for Diversity, a British-based organization that advocates for more diversity in models, was one of the groups that disputed how the photo made it through the marketing team and out to the world.

“@hm 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 !” they tweeted.

The picture was replaced with the generic photo of the green hoodie on Monday. There were also two other hoodies posted next to the controversial hoodie that is worn by white models, including one with the phrase “survival expert.”


 

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