The fallout from H&M’s racist advertisement on the global company’s U.K. website featuring a Black boy wearing a green hoodie with the phrase “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” continues with Grammy Award-winning artist The Weeknd tweeting to his more than 8 million followers that he will no longer work with the brand.
The Weeknd addressed the Swedish retailer, which is led by CEO Karl-Johan Persson and has an all-white board of directors, in the following tweet Monday afternoon:
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye to Ethiopian immigrants, had previously partnered with H&M on two collections — its 2017 Spring Icons campaign and XO, a fall 2017 collection that he designed. He has an estimated net worth of $30 million.
H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer, removed the image from its U.K. website on Monday and issued an apology after threats of boycotts began on social media.
"H&M: have you lost your damned minds?” New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted.
On Tuesday morning, the company issued a statement on Twitter, again apologizing.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie,” the statement said. “We, who work at H&M, can only agree.”
The company said it “regrets the actual print” and in addition to removing the photo of the hoodie from its websites the sweatshirt will be removed from the product line, and the “mistake” is being investigated.
— H&M (@hm) January 9, 2018
NBA superstar LeBron James took to Instagram Monday to criticize H&M.
“H&M you got us all wrong!” James said on his account that has more than 34 million followers. “And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about ya’ll and more of what I see when I look at this photo.
I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!”
@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️
Artist Chris Classic created the image James included with his statement.
Classic said in an Instagram post Monday that he didn’t want to see “this young king’s face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M.”
He continued, “I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 billion won’t care in Sweden but… this lil’ guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the Internet doesn’t erase. So I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him.”
Questlove, a member of the hip hop band “The Roots,” inferred to his 1 million Instagram followers on Monday that the advertisement stemmed from a lack of diversity in H&M’s boardroom.
“I’m sure the apologies are a coming,” he said. “And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will be media fixers and what not and maybe a grand gesture like a donation to some charity (donations under these circumstances are the corporate version #SomeOfMyBestFriendsAre move if there ever was one) all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something … wanna take a guess?”