‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’: H&M torched online for ‘racist’ ad
The online outrage machine went into overdrive after Swedish retailer H&M added a photo of a black child modelling a hoodie which had the words, ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle,’ emblazoned on the front.
The fast-fashion retailer has been blasted online for its supposedly tone-deaf advertisement and perceived insensitivity.
“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended,” H&M told SBS News in a statement.
H&M has replaced the image with a generic photo of the hoodie on its own.
Reaction online has been mostly negative, with the general consensus being that the add was “inappropriate,” “offensive” and “racist.”
.@hm this is inappropriate, offensive, and racist. Why is the white kid "a jungle survivor" and the black kid the "coolest monkey in the jungle"? How do you think this is okay? REMOVE this and the clothing piece. This is completely distasteful! #racist#hmhttps://t.co/uati7eI0Iopic.twitter.com/WSF9Wiksio— Selene Arianela (@ArianelaSelene) January 8, 2018
but wait for it...there’s also the loaded message on the orange hoodie...the junior tour guide & jungle official survivor expert...the entire narrative is a fail for 2018. pic.twitter.com/8hpHQPxOgQ— paisley (@alwayspaisley) January 8, 2018
I worked for them for years and they’re clueless sometimes. The head office in Sweden is very disconnected to issues of racism, cultural & social challenges. They seriously probably think this is cute.— Hasanilove⭐️ (@HasaniReyes) January 8, 2018
The King Center suggested more diversity and cultural sensitivity training is needed to prevent retailers from causing mass offense.
Others believed a boycott of the store was the only way to communicate just how inappropriate the image was.
BOYCOTT @hm! Whose with me? @hmusa What universe do you live in that makes it okay to flaunt your racist ways in such an epic portion. I demand you remove this ad! This child is precious and should be treated as such! #boycottH&M #racists#coolestmonkeyinthejungle#notonmywatchpic.twitter.com/eY4f7nKxvi— Alexandra Foucard (@AFoucard) January 8, 2018
However, others were calmer in their responses, believing that it may have been a simple mishap with no racist undertones and that any offense was being artificially injected into the conversation.
Perhaps it was an innocent mistake and no one even thought that they injected racism into the ad, like those reacting?— Mr. Tangent (@MrTangent) January 8, 2018
I’m going to suggest that this is just a horribly inappropriate choice of design as opposed to intentionally racist - needless to say, @hm are going to have some explaining to do this morning. Product is still up: https://t.co/ZUfeMHztFF— Mike Tinmouth #FBPE (@michaeltinmouth) January 8, 2018
The retailer came under fire from animal rights group PETA in 2017 for a hoodie which bore the phrase, ‘Dogfight in a Random Alley,’ over accusations that it sent, “a dangerous message." H&M agreed to stop selling the article of clothing immediately.