Celebrities, local and international, have vowed to boycott international retain brand H&M, after it posted an advert with a black child model wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle”.
The advert, which sparked outrage on social media, was posted as part of the brand’s global online marketing for its “jungle” theme.
Reacting to the photograph, many called out the brand and called it to be boycotted.
Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QVaxgngwh1
— Diddy (@Diddy) January 8, 2018
South African celebrities were no exception.
If the theme was the “Jungle”, why couldn’t he be a Lion or a Tiger? Why was the black child picked as “The coolest MONKEY”? pic.twitter.com/SzMjnQDMDd
— leratokganyago (@leratokganyago) January 8, 2018
Choreographer Somizi Mhlongo lambasted the brand for never having black people in their campaigns, despite operating in South Africa.
“I’ve never been a fan of H&M since day one [when] they launched in South Africa. First, they never had people of colour in their campaigns, even when they came to Africa. Now, this. Let’s show them the power of monkey rand by not buying ish from them,” he said on Instagram.
Other celebrities also took to social media to call out the brand for the racist advert.
H&M responded with an apology “we apologise for offending customers with an image of a printed hooded top that was published on selected global online channels. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in South Africa.”
Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, like many social media users, rejected the brand’s apology, saying it was not sufficient.
“We are absolutely appalled by this racist advertisement attributed to @HM which strips the child in the green of basic human dignity. While we note the apology as necessary we cannot accept that it’s sufficient based on the amount of damage it has caused,” – Nathi Mthethwa said.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
“Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…” – The Weeknd tweeted.