Fashion group H&M has received widespread backlash after an advertisement featuring a black child modelling a sweatshirt with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” was posted on their website.
The ad was widely criticized for being racist, including by pop star The Weekend, who said he would not be collaborating with the company again after seeing the sweater. After releasing an apology on Tuesday, H&M took down the image from their channels and removed the garment from their product offering.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” it said, adding that it would avoid similar situations in the future.
The word ‘monkey’ has long been used by some as a racial slur, and the use of the word on the company's advertisement has caused global outrage, with celebrities like LeBron James and P Diddy voicing their disgust.
But the model’s mother has said she doesn’t see a problem.
Terry Mango wrote on Facebook: "That’s my son…[I have] been to all photo shoots and this was not an exception, everyone is entitled to their opinion about this. This is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modelled… stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue."
The response to Mango's statement has been overwhelmingly negative, with Twitter users claiming the boy's mother is ignorant to the racist slur.
Terry Mango wants us to shut up and let her son be taged "the coolest monkey in the jungle", we say no. Not with our heritage! pic.twitter.com/gabhHB95oK— Chinke Sarah Kirit (@chinkesara) January 10, 2018
This isn’t the first time the high street fashion chain has been accused of racism.
Two years ago, H&M caused widespread backlash when it opened its first stores in South Africa, in Sandton and Cape Town, with the absence of black models on the store's posters.