Johannesburg, January 9 (Reuters) – Fashion group H&M apologised on Tuesday for an advertisement featuring a black child modelling a sweatshirt with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” and said it had removed it from all its marketing.
The ad was widely criticised for being racist, including by Canadian pop star The Weeknd, who collaborated with H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing group, on two collections in 2017. He said he would not do so again after seeing the advertisement.
“woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…,” The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, said in a tweet late on Monday.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The word ‘monkey’ has long been used by some as a racial slur.
Swedish H&M said in an emailed statement it fully understood and agreed with The Weeknd’s reaction to the image.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” it said, adding that it would now look into its internal practices to avoid similar situations in the future.
Other celebrities criticising the advertisement via social media included U.S. rap star Diddy, Somizi and basketball star LeBron James.
Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QVaxgngwh1
— Diddy (@Diddy) January 8, 2018