H&M apologises over image of black child in ‘monkey’ hoodie

Retailer removes photograph of model in top bearing words ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’ after condemnation.

H&M has apologised for an advert showing a black child in a green hoodie bearing the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle”.

The ad sparked a backlash on social media, with some calling it inappropriate, disgusting and negligent.

The image of the model in the green hoodie has been removed from the H&M website; two similar designs modelled by white children remain.

One bears the words “Mangrove jungle” and “Official survival expert”; the other has outlines of various animals including giraffes and tigers.

The Labour MP Kate Osamor tweeted: “I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least, to find this online imagine. hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?”

Alex Medina, who works in brand design, tweeted: “In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If you look at other sweaters in same category, they have white kids. We have to do better.”

A person tweeting under the handle vulkaanrots said they would boycott the store: “So the black kid gets to wear the H&M sweater with ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’ and the white kid with ‘Survival expert’. This is beyond disgusting.

“It’s a projection of your neocolonial thinking. You won’t see me anywhere near your shops these days hm.”

A spokeswoman for the retailer said: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”

First Published 08.01.2018: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/jan/08/h-and-m-apologises-over-image-of-black-child-in-monkey-hoodie

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