International fashion retail brand H&M has apologized for the ad on its UK website showing a black child model wearing a hoodie with the inscription “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. 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,” the Swedish brand said in a short statement early Tuesday.
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This apology followed a barrage of criticism from celebrities and opinion leaders over the ad’s racist undertone and the irony behind having white models wear a similar sweatshirt but with different inscriptions including “mangrove jungle survival expert”.
There are calls to boycott the stores in the U.S. and that explains the reason why the brand is saying it will not sell the product in the United States. But what about the other black people who are offended outside the U.S.?
The brand also lost one of its celebrity ambassadors The Weeknd who said on Monday: “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
H&M followed up with another apology posted on their Instagram page later on Tuesday saying “it’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
Many critics are unfazed by the apology and suggest the racist ad was deliberate to draw undue attention to the brand. Others described the apology as “weak”, “lame” and “non-apology”.
Here are some reactions of people who think the apology is not enough.
— The Root (@TheRoot) January 8, 2018
What will it take to disinfect the developed world of its instinctive racism toward Africans? Why would a Swedish clothier consider it cute to have a black boy wear a hoodie labeled “Coolest monkey in the jungle?” Worse, H&M issues a non-apology apology. https://t.co/VEz5hr3Awl pic.twitter.com/og88B4exvV
— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) January 8, 2018
Screw your apology.. pic.twitter.com/36mziUjgwu
— Caren Dean – Balfour (@CarenBalfour) January 9, 2018
H&M got the billion dollar publicity yesterday and only paid for it with an apology… This is not enough. #endracism
— Arinze Stanley (@Harinzeyart) January 9, 2018
H&M in the UK withdrew this after racism criticism. “The Image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended,” the retailer told UK’s Daily News.
It is not the apology that matters. It is more the thoughtlessness of it. pic.twitter.com/kmIRtTHIz0
— Sure Kamhunga (@sure_kamhunga) January 8, 2018
It’s still fuck H&M and their fake ass apology. Their racist asses knew what they were doing with this disgusting “coolest monkey in the jungle” ad.
Even their “apology” is strategic racism. Right wingers will now rally around them and buy their shitty clothes.
— October the Poet (@Prose_n_politcs) January 8, 2018
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
— Jay? (@JayUncut) January 8, 2018
H&M’s apology was tired & delayed, it’s pretty much “sorry if we offended you” girl boo, I don’t believe it was intentionally racist , but it goes to show ignorance towards racial connotations & lack of diversity in high positions in companies is still obliviously relevant in ‘18
— Francisco ?. (@HelloFrancisco_) January 8, 2018
Oh @hm wants to cut up AFTER holiday season with this trash. Let’s remember our collective buying power and boycott H&M. Nope. Nope. Nope. Apology not accepted.
— rummie (@ChardonnezMoi) January 8, 2018
Apology is not enough, they must compensate every black person with a full H&M outfit!! pic.twitter.com/ijNfGw5Y9K
— Recovering Lover (@EbongaNdeya) January 8, 2018