The “Can’t Feel My Face” singer has vowed to cut professional ties with the international retail chain following a racially insensitive ad in which a young black boy wears a hoodie with ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ printed on the front.
Twitter recently blew up over a ‘racist’ photo ad by Swedish-based clothing retailer H&M. On H&M’s site, a black boy wore a sweatshirt reading “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
The outrage quickly spilled beyond the Twittersphere.
Canadian singer The Weeknd, who has modeled the company’s 2017 Spring Icons Collection, described the photo as ‘shocking’ and ’embarrassing’ while declaring the end of his working relationship with H&M.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
Musicians and other celebrities, including Diddy and Lebron James, followed suit, all of them rebuking H&M for lack of cultural competency.
James’ response was particularly eye-catching.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star posted on Instagram a reworked version the image. The offensive caption is removed from the sweatshirt and a gold crown added on the model’s head along with a fresh caption: “KING OF THE WORLD”.
After having seen the ad retweeted 103,000 times by Tuesday, H&M issued an apology.
The giant clothing maker released a statement in response to The Weeknd’s Tweet saying:
“We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print. Moving forward, we will continue the discussion with The Weeknd and his team separately.”
That was along with the promise to “look into our internal routines to avoid such situations in the future.”
There was no explanation for why the gaffe happened in the first place, however. Was it simply a disastrous ad idea that was not properly reviewed and ended up missing the mark so awfully? Was it an employee trying to internally bad-rep the company?
The hoodie was removed from all of the company’s online portals by Tuesday. Additionally, the green hoodie is no longer on sale in any of H&M’s local and international stores.