Multi-national clothing company, H&M has faced immense criticism and backlash for a racially insensitive online advertisement which features a Black child wearing a green ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ hoodie.
H&M’s marketing mishap is particularly disturbing considering the long and horrific history of the racial slur. Since the 1800s, white individuals have augmented racial hierarchies by comparing Black individuals to simian species. To this day Black individuals are still actively resisting these racially prejudiced caricatures.
Immediately following the controversial ad, celebrity musicians the Weeknd and G-Eazy publicly withdrew their partnerships with the clothing giant.
The Beautiful & Damned Musician wrote, “After seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign evaporated, and I’ve decided at this time our partnership needs to end.”
Despite the overwhelming outrage over the ad, many discredited the criticism and accused dissenters of being overly sensitive.
The mother of the H&M child model called the controversy an “unnecessary issue” and suggested criticizers “get over it.”
While the debate is still ongoing, this H&M scandal is not an isolated incident. Over the years, major companies have come under fire for promoting prejudiced and racially charged ideas in their advertisements.