H&M pissed off and offended dozens of people across social media Sunday with a racist ad. The clothing giant posted a page that featured an African-American boy wearing one of its hoodie with the words, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle,” the New York Daily News reported.
Bloggers and the rest of the Twitterverse instantly dragged the company for the horribly offensive ad that demeaned the Black child with a racial slur. Plenty of social media users shook their heads in anger over the hoodie, available at the store’s United Kingdom page. As New York Times columnist Charles Blow put it, the company looked as if the marketing staff “lost their damn minds.”
H&M had removed the Black child’s image, continuing to sell the hoodie with a generic apparel photo amid the backlash.
H&M quickly issued a half-baked apology, a standard move in situations involving companies who mock the pain of Black people. “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we [apologize] to anyone this may have offended,” the company told the Daily News in a statement from its Stockholm headquarters.
The company’s statement didn’t take into account the terrifying history behind racist imagery. The term, “monkey” has long been considered a racist slur, hurled as a weapon to promote the dehumanization of Blacks. It’s a horrible shameful act that H&M committed with posting the ad, many social media users said.
One person even pointed out that the sweatshirt in orange, with the words “Survival Expert” and “Junior Tour Guide,” was modeled by a White child, according to The Huffington Post. Why wasn’t consideration given to the Black child, social media explained, especially at a time when African-American children need protection from so many things. Incidents like this one with H&M made it clear that Black folks are just tired of the hate.