H&M Poses Black Child Model In ‘Monkey’ Sweatshirt, Faces Fury On Social Media
“This requires no second look to know it is wrong.”
H&M sparked outrage on social media over the weekend for posing a black child model in a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle.” New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow drew attention to the image on H&M e-commerce site in the U.K. in a tweet […]
… on Sunday night:
Reacting to the photograph, many netizens skewered H&M for what they described as tasteless and racist imagery:
I worked for them for years and they’re clueless sometimes. The head office in Sweden is very disconnected to issues of racism, cultural & social challenges. They seriously probably think this is cute.
— Hasanilove⭐️ (@HasaniReyes) January 8, 2018
Well for black people, the term is loaded. I was once given stickers with pictures of monkeys on them as a gift. Trust me, the intention of the so called gift was not innocent. The gift giver told me just what they thought of me. It went in the garbage.
— Vena M (@LadyV_69) January 8, 2018
While some netizens blamed carelessness, a lack of cultural awareness or bad styling decisions for the retailer’s mistake, others weren’t quite so forgiving.
“I am certain H&M is aware of the negative connotations presented,” wrote one Twitter user. Another said the choice to model a black child instead of a white child in this specific hoodie, which came in two other colors and designs, was no “accident.”
One person pointed out that the sweatshirt in orange ― with the words “Survival Expert” and “Junior Tour Guide” on it ― was modeled by a white child. “The entire narrative is a fail for 2018,” said the Twitter user.
The third design, a navy and white animal print with no words, was also modeled by a white child.
Songwriter Wendy Parr blasted the sweatshirt pairing choices:
H&M has not responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.