The Weeknd Just Blasted H&M Over A Racist 'Monkey' Sweatshirt

Posted -

Global retailer H&M is under major fire after releasing photos with some clearly racist messaging. H&M advertised their new kids sweatshirts this past weekend on their British website, showing three photos of child models in differing sweatshirts. However, the brand made a really wrong move when they decided to put a black child model in the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweatshirt, while a white model got to wear the “Official Survival Expert” sweatshirt. 

The black community has a long, horrific history of being called derogatory names like “monkey” and “ape,” so seeing this child in a sweatshirt labeled as a "cool monkey" is clearly offensive and disrespectful. The ad struck a chord with many, including hit R&B singer The Weeknd. Abel Tesfaye, popularly known as The Weeknd, took to Twitter to express his outrage at the H&M ad and announce that he planned to end his partnership with the international fashion brand.

Yesterday, H&M issued an official public apology on their Twitter page, acknowledging the mistake and promising to do better in the future. 

Her Campus reached out to H&M for further comment and heard back with the following response:

"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," an H&M rep explained. "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." 

"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 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. Please accept our humble apologies." 

While H&M asserts that any racist imagery was unintentional, they own up to the discrepancy and fully believe that racism in any form is wrong. It's a new year, and that means no more insensitive mistakes. H&M has had a great inclusion of diversity in their models in the past few years, so seeing this sweatshirt was a shock to many. We're confident that H&M has learned from this incident and will make strong efforts to build an even more diverse and culturally sensitive fashion brand in the future.

About The Author

Iesha Ismail is currently a junior English major at the University of Florida. Iesha is a Feature Writer and Style Blogger for HerCampus and Features Editor for HerCampus UFL. She's constantly exploring her daily life for inspiration to create the most intriguing and relatable content for HC. Fashion, Asian culture, drawing, and animation are just a few of the passions she plays with on the daily. Whether it's scribbling down poetry at 1 am or sketching the first plant within her eyesight, Iesha always dabbles in anything art.