LONDON – Clothing retailer H&M has recently received harsh criticism in response to its perceived racist ad campaign. In addition to removing the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweatshirt from its website, the chain has now added a discount white hoodie with eye holes as an apology to enraged consumers. Dena Williams, head of PR for H&M had this to say in a press release about the new product:
“We have heard the discourse over the past few days, and we cannot agree more with all of you. We at H&M made a mistake, and now it’s our turn to apologize and reform. We travelled down a path of darkness and now we must turn back towards the light. That’s why we’ve decided to offer up our “Purity Hoodie” for only 20 dollars this month. To us, the color white represents correctness and order, a return to better times. So as not to be completely blinded by our shining rebirth, we’ve added eyeholes in the hoodie to represent our willingness to notice those around us urging us to be better. We feel as though this is a fitting concession to make up for the discomfort we caused to not only a minority, but also to the public standing up for what’s right. Trust me, we know what you’re wondering, and no, there will be no African-American models for this hoodie. We understand now that we should have never had someone of color modelling something that so clearly demeans them, like a comparison to some sort of animal. With that in mind, the Purity Hoodie will have a strictly white model ad campaign. We feel that this will avoid any potential controversy that could arise. We hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us and forget this ever happened, as we are both Humbled&Mournful from this whole incident.”
Along with this statement, H&M also announced a limited run of red “Apology Patches” to affix to the breast of the sweatshirt and will be selling them around the same time.
Illustration by Madux Middaugh