And of course, we could always rewind to the start of 2018, when H&M (somehow?? how??) released an ad on its e-commerce site that showed a black child wearing a sweatshirt that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
H&M’s faux-pas went absolutely viral on social media, with many denouncing the brand, including The Weeknd and G-Eazy, who had collaborated with them previously. The Weeknd tweeted he was “shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” saying he was “deeply offended” and would “not be working” with the brand anymore.
On Instagram, G-Eazy voiced his disgust with the brand, writing, “After seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I’ve decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable.”
In a lukewarm attempt at apology, the company issued a statement that read, “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.” Too little, too late, TBQH.
Personally, I’m just shocked, like G-Eazy mentions, that these ads could have made it past the eyes of SO MANY teams of people. Here’s hoping the fashion industry goes through some serious marketing changes in 2019. Come on guys, you can do better.