H&M feeling the heat after controversial ad campaign - CBS46 News

H&M feeling the heat after controversial ad campaign

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Source: H&M Source: H&M
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Popular clothing retailer H&M is feeling the heat after a new ad campaign that many people are calling racist.

The company sued an African-American child to model a sweatsuit with a slogan that read "The Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." The image of the boy appeared on the British version of the Swedish retailer's online store.

The retailer issued an apology after the photo hit social media but users on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are calling for a boycott of the company, including many celebrities.

NBA star and businessman LeBron James posted an altered image of the boy on his Instagram account with the caption, "King of the World." Political commentator Karen Finney tweeted "Shame on you H&M, there is no excuse. #Boycott H&M."

H&M issued this statement on the issue, saying it was an accident.

"H&M is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society’s issues and problems, whether it’s diversity, working conditions or environmental protection – and many others. Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion. But we clearly haven’t come far enough.

We agree with all the criticism that this has generated – we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists. We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offence but, as a global brand, 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.

This incident is accidental in nature, but this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused. We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled. We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.

Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda. Please accept our humble apologies."

Officials with the company say they've taken down the image and they're not selling the hoodie, saying it's going to be recycled.

There are 11 H&M locations in metro Atlanta, mostly in shopping malls.  

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