Clothing company H&M has issued yet another apology, after drawing substantial criticism for an ad featuring a black child wearing a sweatshirt bearing the message, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The new mea culpa, which is billed as an “unequivocal apology for poorly judged product and image,” states in part, “We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism.
” Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry,” the apology,issued Tuesday, continued.
While H&M said that the use of the image was “accidental in nature,” the company nonetheless added, “this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.”
The company drew fire for the ad early in the week. Initially, the company reacted by removing the image, ultimately choosing to remove the garment from sale altogether.
Prominent critics of the ad included the musician The Weeknd, who had a partnership with H&M but signaled his intention to cut ties with the company on Monday after being made aware of the ad. NBA player LeBron James and rapper/mogul Sean Combs were also among the high-profile critics of the ad.
Read the full apology below.
H&M issues unequivocal apology for poorly judged product and image
To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics.
We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism.
Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.
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.