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H&M Receives Backlash Following Controversial Advertisement

“In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness…. We have to do better.”



Popular clothing brand H&M recently posted an advertisement on their website of a young African American boy modeling a sweatshirt reading “Coolest monkey in the jungle.” The company has since received a huge amount of scrutiny across social media, with many critics believing the advertisement carries racist undertones.

The image appeared on the British version of the Swedish retailer’s website.

In an interview with the Washington Post, H&M apologized for the advertisement, “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”

H&M explained that they will be investigating the image: “It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

Several celebrities have taken note of this advertisement and shared their disappointment in H&M on Twitter and Instagram.

NBA star Lebron James posted an altered version of the image on Instagram giving the boy a crown and removing the words from the sweatshirt. He said, “Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!!”

Designer Alex Medina tweeted, “In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness…. We have to do better.”

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Abby Goss is a senior at West Chester University. She will graduate in the Spring with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and a Minor in Journalism. She is a dedicated writer and has produced content for several outlets including Kelly Roach Coaching, The Odyssey Online, The Torch, and The Quad. She can be reached at

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