Windhoek-A seemingly innocent photo to advertise its clothing line for kids turned nasty for Swedish clothing giant Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) on Monday, causing the retailers to apologise and remove the advertisement immediately.
The online photo was of a young black boy modelling one of H&M’s hooded sweaters. The ‘hoodie’ itself was not the issue but what was written on it, namely ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’, which has been deemed as racist by some observers.
“Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’?” style blogger Stephanie Yeboah tweeted on Sunday. “You do know that monkey is a known racial slur to black people right?” she added.
The image has since been removed from all H&M channels and the company apologised to anyone it may have offended. A generic photo of the hooded sweatshirt without the modelling child is still available online.
H&M is not the only major company to be hit by an advertisement scandal in recent years.
Spanish clothing brand Zara in 2014 removed a stripped pyjamas line with a yellow star after facing outrage over its resemblance to clothes worn by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps.
And in October last year, personal care brand Dove apologised after it was accused of racism for airing a commercial showing a black woman turning into a white woman after removing her top.