The Weeknd has cut ties with H&M after the retailer’s website posted a photo of a young black boy wearing a hoodie that read, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”
“woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” the 27-year-old singer (real name Abel Tesfaye) tweeted on Monday, January 8, alongside a screenshot of the online ad. “i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore… pic.twitter.com/P3023iYzAb
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
A rep for H&M responded to the backlash in a statement to Pitchfork: “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
The Weeknd first partnered with H&M in March 2017 when he released his Spring Icons collection. He created a second menswear collection with the Swedish company that September.
The Roots frontman Questlove also responded to the controversial advertisement. “I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled,” he wrote on Instagram on Monday. “I’m certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot and maybe a grand gesture like a donation to some charity (donations under these circumstances are the corporate version #SomeOfMyBestFriendsAre move if there ever was one) all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?”
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