The Weeknd revealed his collaboration with H&M for a new clothing line back in September, but it looks like this relationship has already come to an end. The “Starboy” singer is among the celebrities slamming H&M for its controversial ad for a new “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” children’s hoodie.
“woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” The Weeknd, born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, tweeted on Monday. “i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
The ad in question saw a black model sporting the item. Making matters worse, a white child wore the empowering phrase “survival expert” in another photo.
“We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image,” a spokesperson for H&M said in regards to The Weeknd. “We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. We have removed the image from all our channels and the sweater is no longer for sale in our stores. We will also look into our internal routines to avoid such situations in the future. We will continue the discussion with The Weeknd and his team separately.”
Niecy Nash, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast member Karamo Brown, and Questlove were among those denouncing the brand for the ad selection.
“In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness,” designer Alex Medina tweeted of the images. “If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better.”
“I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled,” Questlove wrote on Instagram prior to H&M’s public response. “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?”
Brown called the act “disgusting” and “irresponsible.”
“You know the history of racist using the term ‘monkey’ to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website!” Brown wrote.
Nash, meanwhile, shared a Photoshopped image from recording artist and music producer Chris Classic, who replaced the “coolest monkey” with a crown.
A statement from the King Center, the official living memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., released on Twitter read, “Every company should invest in training that encompasses cultural competency and sensitivity. It is absolutely necessary.”