The Swedish fashion giant later issued an apology as regards to the ‘racist’ garment and removed the item from all of its channels.
In response to the social media backlash, H&M wrote: “We have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities – and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.”
But the five-year-old’s mother has spoken out for the first time amidst the controversy and admitted that she does not understand the issues raised.
“Am the mum and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modelled… Stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue here… Get over it,” the model’s mother Terry Mango said in a now-deleted Facebook post.
She continued: “That’s my son… av been to all photoshoots and this was not an exception, everyone is entitled to their opinion about this. I really don’t understand but not coz am choosing not to but because it’s not my way of thinking, sorry (sic).”
But the campaign shot prompted H&M’s most recent collaborator The Weeknd to turn his back on the label, as he admitted to feeling “deeply offended” by the image.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The ‘racist’ image first came to light after blogger Stephanie Yeboah spotted the controversial shot and wrote: “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.”
A spokeswoman for the Swedish label announced: “We have been in contact with the child’s mother and we have an ongoing dialogue with her on how we can support them.”
She continued, “It’s important to us to provide them with any support needed.”
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