H&M is under major social media scrutiny this week for an ad featuring a black child wearing a hoodie with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Many Twitter users criticized the brand for being racially insensitive, some even pointing out how H&M used a white child for a sweatshirt that had the contrasting phrase: “survival expert.”
Among those criticizing the fashion company are big-name celebrities like The Weeknd, Diddy, Quest Love, Lebron James and Niecy Nash.
The Weeknd had the most impactful response. The pop singer — who collaborated with the brand for an 18-piece collection of fall essentials last September — announced on Twitter that he will no longer be working with the company. “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will no longer be working with the company.anymore…” he wrote in a tweet featuring a photo of the ad.
Other celebs offered their thoughts, such as Lebron James
TV and Radio personality Karamo Brown
European footballer Kevin-Prince Boateng
Pro Wrestler Titus O’Neil
Following all the backlash, H&M addressed the controversy in a statement, writing, “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.” The company has not yet addressed The Weeknd’s decision to end their partnership.