The Weeknd has cut ties with Swedish retailer H&M, after a picture surfaced on their website showing a young black child wearing a printed hoodie that reads: “COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE.”
“Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore,” the singer stated on Twitter.
H&M and the Weeknd began collaborating in 2017 as part of the singer’s XO brand.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
“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,” H&M said in a statement. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
Many artists have spoken out against the retailer’s image on social media. Rapper YG stating “F*CK H&M” in a Twitter post. Others, such as Questlove, went into more detail stating “all this tells me about H&M is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?”
— YG (@YG) January 9, 2018
This isn’t the first time H&M has been accused of racism. In 2015, controversy arose when a Twitter user asked why there was a lack of black model’s featured in their South African branch. In response, they tweeted that they wanted their models to “convey a positive feeling,” which resulted in controversy. As a result, the retailer issued an apology on social media. “H&M is a global brand that embraces all people who are inspired by fashion, regardless of ethnic background, gender or culture,” the company said at the time.