High street giant H&M has come under fire over a controversial advert for a children’s top which shoppers have labeled ‘racist‘.
The Swedish fashion chain is selling a green hooded top on its UK and US websites emblazoned with the phrase ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’.
The image, which has since been taken down from a website in the wake of the uproar, shows a young boy modeling the £7.99 hooded top.
Customers took to Twitter to question whether H&M were being ‘casually racist’, pointing out that ‘monkey’ has long been used as a racial slur.
Even those who doubted the brand was being racist admitted there should have been more aware of how the image could be perceived.
The campaign group Models Of Diversity, which pushes for more diversification across the industry, said H&M should be ‘ashamed’.
Referring to the green top, Labour MP Kate Osamor tweeted: ‘I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least to find this online imagine. @hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?’‘
Other Twitter users were also quick to weigh in on the debate.
One wrote: ‘Is this part of a publicity stunt? Do some brands want to be dragged on twitter in order to gain more visibility?’
Another added: ‘Wow. I mean, put it on a child of literally ANY other race. How did NO ONE consider this is inappropriate? Not the photographer, stylist, creative director, editor… I truly wonder if anyone raised a concern that was ignored or they are all just stupid.’
Others pointed out there appeared to be no racial undertones but asked whether there had been a significant ‘oversight’ in the advertising campaign.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Do you know that they’re not calling him a monkey? It’s just a jumper with the name ‘monkey’ on it, you’re making it racist.’
The online listing for the garment, which is made for children aged 18 months to 10 years, is still available to buy online but no longer features the image of the child model.
A spokesman for H&M told MailOnline: ‘This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.’
In October a shopper vented her frustration about children’s Halloween costumes in the store which were not gender-neutral.
Poppy Lambert-Harden, from Brighton, was shopping with her mother when she discovered that her favorite outfits were in the boys’ section of her local store for the second year running.
The observant five-year-old had the same problem last year and was forced to buy a skeleton costume from the boys’ section of the store after complaining girls’ costumes ‘weren’t very scary or cool’.
And the shop has also faced the wrath of customers for the way it sizes its clothes.
One size 14 blogger posted a photograph of herself attempting to squeeze into a size 16 dress being sold by the retailer.
And in August, Samantha Bell shared a picture showing how a pair of size 16 jeans from the retailer appeared to be significantly smaller than a Primark pair.
It has previously been suggested that a discrepancy between the UK and European sizing at H&M means that shoppers struggle to fit into their usual dress size at the store.
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