'Coolest monkey in the jungle': H&M in hot water after 'distasteful' hoodie ad

A H&M hoodie reading 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' modelled by a black child has been branded as a 'racist' move on social media.

A black boy models a hoodie with the slogan 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle'.

A black boy models a hoodie with the slogan 'coolest monkey in the jungle' on the H&M website. Source: H&M

Swedish fashion giant H&M has been accused of being 'distasteful' after a black child modelling a hoodie reading 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' featured on its website.

Many interpreted the image as "inappropriate", "offensive" and "racist", with some taking to Twitter to slam the move. Several threatened to boycott the brand.

"This is completely distasteful," one wrote. Meanwhile while another said: "H&M this sweatshirt is a disgrace you should be ashamed of yourselves."

The King Centre, an organisation established to remember black rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, added "every company should invest in training that encompasses cultural competency and sensitivity".

Meanwhile others defended the organisation.

One Twitter user responded: "I see a sweet little black boy wearing a sweater with 'coolest monkey in the jungle'. I see nothing else. Hope this helps."

Another added: "Perhaps it was an innocent mistake and no-one even thought that they injected racism into the ad."

The photograph of the black child in the hoodie has since been taken down.

In a statement, H&M told SBS News: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”

Published 8 January 2018 at 7:59pm, updated 8 January 2018 at 8:58pm
By Marese O'Sullivan