H&M's "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" Ad

H&M's "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" Ad

Updated Feb 05, 2018 at 07:39AM EST by Y F.

Added Jan 08, 2018 at 04:23PM EST by Matt.

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Overview

H&M's "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" Ad refers to the negative reaction to an advertisement for H&M clothing stores featuring a black child wearing a sweatshirt that reads "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." Some online claimed that while the ad was likely an oversight, it was also tone deaf and racially insensitive.

Background

On January 7th, 2018, Twitter user @NerdAboutTown tweeted, "Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’? I mean. What." They included a picture from H&M that features a black child wearing a sweatshirt that reads, "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." The post (shown below) recevied mor tahn 19,000 retweets and 24,000 likes in 24 hours.


Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says 'coolest monkey in the jungle'? l mean. What. 0 DLEST MONK THE JUNG

Developments

Online Reaction

Following this tweet, more people online began posting outrage to the advertisement. Twitter[2] user @mrmdina tweeted, "Yo @HM you need to explain yourself. What the hell is this?" The post (shown below, left) received more than 280 retweets and 560 likes in less than 24 hours.

That night, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted[3] the ad with the caption "@hm, have you lost your damned minds?!?!?!" The post (shown below, center) received more than 5,100 retweets and 9,900 likes in 24 hours.

The following day, musician and recording artist Questlove posted the add on Instagram [4] with the caption "I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot 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?" The post (shown below, right) received more than 14,000 likes in

That day, Twitter[6] published a Moments page regarding the controversy.


Yo @HM you need to explain yourself. What the hell is this? www2.hm.com/en_gb/productp... m2.hm.com OOLEST MONKE IN THE JUNGLE OLEST N THE JU Printed hooded top @hm, have you lost your damned minds?!?!? My H&M H&M Club Signit HAM LADIES MEN KIDS H&M HOME SALE MAGAZINE #HM GALLERY Printed hooded top £799 Green Select size OOLEST MONIK N THE JUNE 1% 2Y 4Y SY BY 0Y Size Guide Next Day Delivery, Nominated Delivery Slot, Pick-up in store and Standard Delivery in 2-3 days ADD TO SHOPPING BAG FIND IN STORE DESCRIPTION DETAILS SHARE DELIVERY AND PAYMENT Top in soft, printed sweatshirt fabric with a wrapover hood and ribbing at the cuffs and hem. Soft brushed inside. questlove questlove I'm sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I'm certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot 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? Load more comments NTHE JUNRE 15,119 likes

Artists Leave H&M

On January 8th, singer and recording artist The Weeknd announced that he no long be working with H&M. In a tweet, he wrote,[15] "woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…"


The Weeknd @theweeknd woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i'm deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore.. OLEST MON N THE JUN

The following day, on both Instagram[16] and Twitter,[17] rapper and producer G-Eazy wrote a length response to working with H&M in the past and how he felt about the advertisement. He wrote:

"Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM… Unfortunately, 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. I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level."

Within 24 hours, the post on Instagram (shown below) received more than 600,000 likes, while the post on Twitter received more than 24,000 retweets and 89,000 likes. That day, Twitter[17] published a Moments page regarding G-Eazy's response.


9-eazy geazy Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM... Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and l'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 I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to aet on track and GOOLEST KIN NORLD 638,468 likes 22 HOURS AGO Log in to like or comment.

Apology

On January 8th, H&M[5] released a statement. It says:

"We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States.We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues."

Media Coverage

Several media outlets covered the controversy, including Insider,[7] NBC,[8] CBS,[9] Fast Company,[10] Bloomberg,[11] Forbes,[12] The Independent,[13] Foxnews[14] and more.

Search Interest

External References

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