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Protesters trashed some H&M stores in South Africa after the clothing company ran a controversial ad of a black child wearing a green “coolest monkey in the jungle" hoodie many critics slammed as racist.
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ party — a radical opposition party — organized the protests at stores across Johannesburg Saturday, the BBC reported.
High street fashion chain H&M has apologised for using a black child to model a “monkey” hoodie.
The image, which appeared on the UK website of the Sweden-based multinational, shows a black child in a green hoodie emblazoned with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
On Sunday, the photo began to be shared by social media users dismayed by the “an insensitive association between the young model and a hateful slur against black people,” the New York Daily News reports.
As the image continued to circulate on Monday, the backlash against the clothing giant gathered pace:
Others noted that another hoodie in the range, with the slogan “Survival Expert”, was modelled by a white child:
Although a few tweeters defended H&M, saying the photo was the product of cultural misunderstanding:
Even if the offence was unintentional, many argued, the well-known historical and cultural connotations of monkey imagery should have raised a red flag long before the listing made it onto the website:
Some ascribed the error to a lack of diversity and a reminder of the importance of representation:
The photo featuring the child model has now been removed from the website listing.
“We apologise to anyone this may have offended,” said a spokesperson for the chain, in what African-American website The Root termed a “pithy, lukewarm apology”.youda