H&M Apologizes for ‘Monkey’ Image Featuring Black Child
H&M apologized on Monday for an image appearing in its website that showed a black child model wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The company removed the image on Monday and said it would also pull the shirt from its stores worldwide. The image was widely criticized online for its reference to a monkey, an animal that has long been associated with racial and ethnic slurs. The Weeknd, a Canadian pop star of Ethiopian descent, was one of those who criticized the clothing giant, writing on Twitter that he would decline to work with H&M in the future.
Total Retail's Take: When these types of controversies pop up — and they seem to all too often — I wonder about the editing/approval process that retail organizations have in place for their content. How many people at H&M viewed this image before it was published to the company's website? Could they have all been that naive to think that this would not cause the reaction it has? If I want to be sinister, could it have been intentional as a means to get H&M trending in the news? Whatever the case may be, H&M has got to be better. Step one is owning the mistake and apologizing for it; step two is making sure it never happens again.