The clothing retailer H&M went into damage control mode today, apologizing for an image appearing in its online store that showed a black child modeling a hooded sweatshirt displaying the words “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The New York Times reports that the company removed the image and said it would pull the shirt from its stores worldwide. The image reportedly appeared in the company’s online store in some European markets.
“The image was widely criticized online for its reference to a monkey, an animal that has long featured in racial and ethnic slurs,” The Times reports. “The Weeknd, a Canadian pop star of Ethiopian descent, was one of those who criticized the clothing giant, writing on Twitter that he would decline to work with the company in the future.”
You can see the tweet from The Weeknd below, including a photo of the H&M image.
H&M said in a statement that it agreed with those who were “upset about the image.”
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” the company’s statement says. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
The company also said it would investigate the incident in an effort to prevent similar mistakes. The Times notes that as of this afternoon the shirt, minus the original image, was still being offerend for sale on H&M’s British site.
Here’s the tweet from The Weeknd …