“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues,” the Swedish brand said in a short statement early Tuesday.
This apology followed a barrage of criticism from celebrities and opinion leaders over the ad’s racist undertone and the irony behind having white models wear a similar sweatshirt but with different inscriptions including “mangrove jungle survival expert”.
There are calls to boycott the stores in the U.S. and that explains the reason why the brand is saying it will not sell the product in the United States. But what about the other black people who are offended outside the U.S.?
The brand also lost one of its celebrity ambassadors The Weeknd who said on Monday: “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
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H&M followed up with another apology posted on their Instagram page later on Tuesday saying “it’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
Many critics are unfazed by the apology and suggest the racist ad was deliberate to draw undue attention to the brand. Others described the apology as “weak”, “lame” and “non-apology”.
H&M got the billion dollar publicity yesterday and only paid for it with an apology… This is not enough