H&M Apologizes For Promoting 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' Shirt With a Black Model

The Swedish clothing company H&M apologized Monday for using a black boy as a model for a hoodie that says "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle." 

"This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended," the company said in a statement after social media uproar over the photo.

The boy in the picture was not identified and H&M offered no explanation for the image. The hoodie, which was sold the company's United Kingdom online store, was first noticed after writer Stephanie Yeboah posted a screenshot Sunday and tweeted, "Whose idea it was at [H&M] to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says 'coolest monkey in the jungle'? I mean. What."

That tweet started an online fury over the photo. The British-based diversity advocate Models for Diversity derided H&M's choice of model, tweeting to the H&M account, "How on earth can this be? SHAME ON YOU !"

Many online were quick to point out that this isn't the first time H&M and other clothing corporations like it have been accused of racial insensitivity. In November 2015, soon after opening its flagship store in Cape Town, South Africa, H&M was criticized online for employing too few black models in its global marketing campaign.The retail giant first responded by saying its marketing strategy "conveys a positive image" despite the lack of diversity among its models. After mounting public pressure, H&M was forced to apologize for its apology.

Users online also rehashed H&M's long-criticized labor standards and pay inequities at its factories across the developing world. In 2013, H&M was one of many multinational clothing giants blamed for the deaths of over 1,000 garment workers in Bangladesh after their factory collapsed.

GettyImages-869288274 An H&M event in Zurich, Switzerland. Remy Steiner/Getty Images

The company promised to better its working conditions, but human rights groups on the ground in Bangladesh said in 2016 that those promises have not yet been fulfilled.