The year 2018 is not even 10 days old, and we’ve already got an advertisement that had people up in arms. Clothing brand H&M recently launched a new range of hoodies hoping to create a huge buzz. Well, the buzz sure happened but it wasn’t because the hoodies are great but because the advertisement is being called out as racist, forcing the company to apologise.
In the hoodie ad, a Black and Caucasian kid are standing sporting the garment, and it’s all normal till one pays heed to the print on the tops. The one worn by the Black kid has “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” while the Caucasian kid’s one has “Mangrove Jungle Survival Expert” printed on it. As soon as these images were uploaded on social media, many called the brand out taking objection to the words printed on the hoodies, calling it “racist”.
Several people, including many African -American celebrities, raised their voice for using ‘casual racist terms’. Netizens vented their anger out on social media for the disrespectful advertisement.
— alex medina (@mrmedina) January 8, 2018
National Basketball Association (NBA) star LeBron James posted a revised version of the photo with the child wearing a king’s crown on his Instagram feed, 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,” James wrote.
The image caused a social media storm and not just celebrities, even Canadian artiste The Weeknd tweeted about ending their collaboration with the Stockholm-based company.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The backlash against the brand was massive, with people across industries and platforms lambasting H&M on social media.
— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) January 8, 2018
Fixed this H&M ad I saw earlier today pic.twitter.com/ItX0zzfhlw
— Mimicgawd (@Mimicgawd) January 8, 2018
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 8, 2018
According to media reports, H&M apologised in a statement saying, “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.”
Hi there Lizzie. We’re sorry this has caused some offense. This was of course not intentional. We’re taking this image down from the website now so thanks for letting us know.
— H&M Customer Service (@hm_custserv) January 8, 2018