LeBron James and Diddy are joining the ranks of celebrities calling out H&M for an ad featuring a young black model wearing a hoodie reading “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
“@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up!” wrote James on Instagram Monday. “Enough about y’all 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!!”
The Cleveland Cavaliers star’s message was accompanied by an edited version of the photo showing the boy wearing a crown. A Crown graphic covers the original text of the hoodie, and the words “king of the world” appear above him.
Diddy posted a cartoon interpretation with the words “coolest king of the world” in lieu of the original message and a crown hovering above the boy’s head. “Put some respect on it!!” Diddy tweeted. “When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful.”
On Monday, the original ad caught the attention of The Weeknd (real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), who slammed H&M on Twitter. “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” wrote the Grammy winner, who collaborated with the fast-fashion brand on a clothing line in September. “i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
In the wake of public outrage, H&M addressed the controversy and The Weeknd’s reaction. “We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image,” a spokesperson for the company told EW on Monday. “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.”