H&M is receiving backlash over the sale of a questionable hoodie modeled by a young black child. According to the Hollywood Reporter, over the weekend the Swedish-based clothing giant’s UK website featured a photo of a green-hooded top with the phrase “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” written on it. The hoodie was modeled by a black child, and many shoppers deemed the garment to be racist.
In addition to the offensive green “jungle” hoodie, H&M’s site featured a photo of a bright orange hooded top modeled by a young white boy. In sharp contrast to the black boy’s hoodie, the white model’s jungle-themed top features the phrase, “Survivor Expert.”
H&M is facing major backlash over the racist clothing line with some outraged buyers calling for a boycott of the fashion chain.
After seeing the controversial clothing ad, Charles Blow, a noted New York Times columnist, tweeted to H&M: “Have you lost your damned minds?!?!?!”
Others quickly took to Twitter to slam the retailer.
“Really @hm,” outraged reader Buzy Baker wrote. “I just want to know why the black boy is wearing a hoodie that says ‘coolest monkey.’ & the white boy is wearing a hoodie that says ‘Expert.’ The Art Director behind this is trash.”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 8, 2018
The green hoodie has not been pulled and is still available for sale, but H&M’s online listing no longer features the image of the child modeling the garment. The revamped listing instead just includes a photo of the hoodie by itself. Amid the backlash, H&M has released a statement apologizing for the tone-deaf original photo.
“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, according to CNN.
H&M is not the first clothing company to find itself under fire over controversial clothing items in recent years. Urban Outfitters previously peddled a $129 faux-vintage T-shirt with the Kent State seal and red splatters that appeared to be blood stains. The controversial shirt seemingly referenced the Vietnam War protest shootings that occurred at the school on May 4, 1970, according to People. In addition, in 2004, the company yanked a shirt that featured the phrase “Everyone Loves a Jewish Girl” surrounded with dollar signs after receiving a slew of complaints from Jewish communities.