H&M has apologised after an image of a black child modelling a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” appeared on the Swedish retailer’s UK website.
In response to the controversial image, which sparked a frenzy of Tweets branding it as “offensive”, “irresponsible” and “racist”, The Weeknd has cut ties with the high street brand.
The singer, who has previously sold merchandise through H&M and modeled for the company, took to Twitter to share the news: “[I] woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.”
H&M responded with the following statement: “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 offering.”
Rapper Sean Combs, American basketball player LeBron James and Manchester United footballer Romelu Lukaku rallied to support Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who is known professionally as The Weeknd, and share their disappointment at H&M’s oversight.
H&M has agreed that the image is upsetting, and ended the brand’s statement with the promise that an oversight like this would not happen again: “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.”
It is not the first time that H&M has come under fire for products that have caused offence. In January 2016, it apologised for a striped scarf that social-media users alleged was a copy of a Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl. A menswear vest that was produced in 2014 and featured a skull in the centre of a Star of David was similarly removed from sale.