H&M pulls its offensive ad advertisement and renders full apology for perceived racism

RETAIL giant H&M has issued an unequivocal apology for its conduct after publishing an offensive ad in which a black child featured in one of its tops with an inscription declaring him the coolest monkey in the jungle.


In a massive public relations gaffe that has backfired biog time, H&M released the ad featuring an eight year old black boy in a green hooded top retailing for £7.99. Swedish-owned H&M is the world’s second-largest clothing group and following the publication of the ad, several of pop stars announced that they will stop advertising its brands.


Canadian pop star The Weekend, who collaborated with H&M on two collections in 2017, said he would not do so again after seeing the advertisement. Other celebrities criticising the advertisement via social media included US rap star Diddy and basketball star LeBron James.


Faced with the prospect of becoming a pariah, H & M have tendered a grovelling apology and withdrawn the advertisement. It has also disassociated itself from racism, saying that as a company it is opposed to any form of racial discrimination.


A H&M spokesman said: "To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics, we would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater and the ensuing response and criticism. Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.


H &M is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society’s issues and problems, whether it’s diversity, working conditions or environmental protection and many others. Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion but we clearly haven’t come far enough."


He added that the company agrees with all the criticism that this has generated and has decided to act accordingly.  According to the company, they concede that have got this wrong, even if unintentionally and passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists.


"We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offence but as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time. This incident is accidental in nature but this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.


"We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale and it will be recycled. We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.


"Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda, so please accept our humble apologies," he added.