H&M is being accused of racism on social networks after wearing a sweater to a black child model with the message: “The coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The first negative reaction came from Charles M. Blow, a New York Times columnist. In his tweet he asked: “H&M, have you lost your damned mind?”
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 8, 2018
Following this tweet, an avalanche of criticism began on Twitter. All of them embodying H&M’s choice of “tasteless” and “racist.” While the green sweater has a message allusive to monkeys, the orange and blue sweater (dressed in Caucasian models) have other messages: the orange version of the sweater says “Man in Mangals. Official Survival Specialist. Youth Tour Guide ” and the dark blue version only has engravings of wild animals such as giraffes and turtles.
So the black kid gets to wear the H&M sweater with "Coolest monkey in the jungle" and the white kid with "Survival expert". This is beyond disgusting. It's a projection of your neocolonial thinking. You won't see me anywhere near your shops these days @hm. pic.twitter.com/Gl7OtdVw4p
— Volkan 🔥 (@vulkaanrots) January 8, 2018
On 9 January H&M responded to the controversy, writing on Twitter: ‘We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering. ‘It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.’