The Weeknd, ‘Deeply Offended’ by ‘Coolest Monkey’ Ad, Severs Ties with H&M

Other celebrities are also criticizing the retailer, including LeBron James, who said, “We as African Americans will always have to break barriers.”

The Weeknd / INSTAGRAM

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, 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.

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H&M Uses Black Child in Racist 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' Ad, Apologizes

H&M Uses Black Child in Racist 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' Ad, Apologizes

"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.

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!”

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?”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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  • Rosemary Comer

    I find it difficult to believe not one person at HM thought to rethink this ad? No one at this company thought twice about the campaign?

    Reply
    • The problem is they didn’t think. Or they thought we wouldn’t notice their tone-deaf marketing. No matter, bottom line is that H&M was wrong on many levels. And the child’s mother is also ill-informed (trying to protect her son’s future earnings, I suspect) by telling folks to “get over it”. She’s not from America but that doesn’t exempt her from making lame responses. Perhaps she should spend her time protecting her child from the subtleties of racism – on display across the globe. Now, that’s a life long lesson he can use. Stay Woke. BLM.

      Reply
  • Now I wholeheartedly agree with this action. Don’t buy their products and threaten the same to stores that carry them. Good deal.

    Reply
  • Money talks…

    Companies have to have consequences for tone deaf marketing decisions otherwise nothing will change.

    Reply
  • Oh, not the neutral, coolest SWED-ITCH? Aren’t they supposed to be the coolest blond-haired, blue-eyed ALBINOS in the Alps? Racism runs deep in the cold, dark hearts of ALL whites; some are a little more civilized not to display it publicly.

    I also question this Black boy’s parent(s) who are pimping their child and allowed him to put on the hoodie. According to child actor Cory Feldman [The Goonies], it’s common for parents to pimp their children for money, fame, fortune, and to PEDOPHILES in the TV, movie, modeling and advertising industries. This boy’s ignorant-az, money-grubbing PARENTS need to be EXPOSED and SHAMED along with these white Swed-itch RACISTS.

    I don’t buy cheaply made rags from H&M anyway, especially when you can find better quality clothes at the Goodwill or any other thrift store. Now, I will permanently boycott Honkies & Masters.

    Reply
    • ZAZIJAMS–His mother does not have a CLUE about racism issues in
      Europe, the New World or anywhere….she’s told people she “disagrees”
      with them and she can’t see why anyone “made a big deal about it.”
      She’s grateful for the $cash$ and could care less about what her
      child symbolized in those photos. I hope that kid grows up and
      becomes Prime Minister of Sweden!

      Reply
  • There can “never” be an apology without “accountability;” and a change of course for the better. The organization should be issuing a few pink slips, and addressing the lack of diversity at the executive level. Dove, Pappa Johns, and now H&M will “never” see a penny from me! In addition, I will share this with everyone I know!

    Reply
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