BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the H&M hoodie seen around the world: A black child in a green hoodie with a “coolest monkey in the jungle” slogan. The image has sparked widespread outrage on social media.
One Twitter user asked black people when a boycott of the brand will start. Another pointed out that a top with “survival expert” was modeled by a white child.
Political commentators and celebrities have also chimed in. New York Times columnist Charles Blow asked the clothing company if it lost its mind. On Instagram, Quest Love wrote the ad shows H&M “lacks something” in its board room.
I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot and maybe a grand gesture like a donation to some charity (donations under these circumstances are the corporate version #SomeOfMyBestFriendsAre move if there ever was one) all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?
“They’re in crisis mode, and they need to quickly figure out what they’re going to do, how they’re going to respond,” says Shana Harris, marketing expert.
She says the clothing controversy could’ve been avoided.
“It’s just surprising that made it through all the different checks,” Harris said.
The hoodie was sold in the Swedish retailer’s U.K. stores. The image of the child has been removed from the website.
“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended,” said H&M spokeswoman Anna Eriksson.
In a statement to CBS News, H&M said it “sincerely apologizes for this image. we believe in diversity and inclusion all that we do, and will be reviewing our internal routines.”
H&M isn’t the first company accused of cultural insensitivity.
In October, dove pulled an ad that showed a black woman turning into a white woman.
In 2013, Children’s Place was accused of reinforcing stereotypes with a t-shirt that said girls are not interested in math.
Harris says companies need to be more conscious.
“Understanding your audience and wanting to make sure that whatever you’re putting out there resonates with that audience,” she said.
Some H&M customers vowed on its Facebook page that they will not shop at the store until the hoodie
is pulled from its locations.