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H&M woo racist shoppers with black boy in a monkey jumper

by | 10th, January 2018

How did you feel when you saw the H&M advert for a child’s top featuring the legend “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”? Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weekend, tweeted “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”

The photo? This one:

 

coolest monkey in the jungle h&m

 

And then Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku shared the image with his Instagram followers, adding his own logo-style caption: “You’re prince soon to be a king. Don’t let anybody tell you different.” Basketball star LeBron James used his Instagram post to add his own logo: “when I look at this photo I see a Young King!!”

H&M-endorsed rapper G-Eazy also called the child “coolest king of the world”, adding: “Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I’ve decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable.”

H&M duly begged for forgiveness. “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended…We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken…We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

Best tell the child and his parents that calling him a “little monkey” is racist, moreover accusing him of “monkeying around” or being a “cheeky monkey”.

 

h&m clothing racist

Also my H&M – more life-affirming slogan and locations

 

And, of course, politicians get involved. Labour MP Kate Osamor tweeted: “I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least, to find this online imagine. hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?”

Maybe they only saw ‘the boy’? Maybe you have to be obsessed with race to spot the offence? Maybe we pick our prejudices, and being shocked and dismayed by a black boy in a top is more upsetting than Labour’s problem with anti-Semitism? Explicit racism is obvious. Was the child model paid less than the others? The implicit stuff is tricky. How do you go about defending yourself against accusations that your subconscious opinions are wrong? Is the safest option to accuse others of racism first and in their apologies and entrails find evidence of your own clean mind?

One Indy writer opines: “Their intention was clearly not to cause offence; it just obviously didn’t enter their minds to think seriously about their black customers.” So what’s the point of featuring black models – to appeal to non-black customers who don’t mind a bit of racism, or maybe even enjoy it? Well, yeah. A HuffPost writer calls it a “blatantly racist advertising campaign”. Klan members form an orderly queue.

The Indy writer adds: “A glance at their all-white board of directors tells you everything you need to know.” From being on the board of a Swedish clothing company, H&M directors are now suspects. As are well all…

 



Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: News, The Consumer Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink