Liam Mango was pictured in a hoodie on the H&M website which read ‘coolest monkey in the jungle.’
However after the image was posted online, the company faced a huge backlash, with members of the public calling the decision to use a black child to model the hoodie “racist” and “unacceptable.”
H&M swiftly apologised and Liam’s parents have now revealed they never saw the hoodie the same way as many members of the public.
Speaking on This Morning from Stockholm, Sweden, mother Terry and father Frank explained they didn’t even know about the hoodie before the internet erupted.
But Terry said even if she’d seen the slogan before, she doesn’t think that would have rung alarm bells for her.
“I wouldn’t see such a connection to anything other than my son modelling a shirt,” Terry explained.
“Until the controversy now, with the whole furore that is going on, then you kind of look back and wonder if you had noticed it, what would be our, or my, initial response to it.”
But Terry explained she doesn’t believe the furore has necessarily been unjust.
“It is not an overreaction when it comes to racism, everyone should act differently based on their opinions of what racism is,” she said, explaining that she’s faced racism and even been called a ‘monkey’ herself.
“To put the T-shirt and the word ‘monkey’ with racism, maybe that is not my way of looking at it,” Terry added.
“I’m just looking at Liam, a black young boy, modeling a T-shirt that has the word ‘monkey’ on it.
“Everybody should respect different opinions based on racism.”
The family have had to move out of their home, and Frank explained that they no longer have their “normal family life.”
“As much as people have gotten involved in this, for me it’s very important that people understand that me and Teresa, we have a son, we have other children in the home that we are raising, and we have an obligation to protect our children,” he said.
And the parents added that Liam doesn’t really understand the big fuss around him
“He’s aware he’s a superstar and people love him,” Terry said.
Written by: Rachel Hosie
First Published 15.01.18: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/hm-hoodie-racism-model-parents-terry-frank-mango-h-and-m-a8160116.html