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Once Again, H&M Contrives To Infuriate The Masses

In a recent online advertisement in Britain, H&M decided to feature a young black model to promote a hooded top with the catchphrase ‘COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE’ certainly proved to be a fiasco, to say the least

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Popular Swedish fashion retailer H&M commits yet another faux pas, oh dear! 

In a recent online advertisement in Britain, the firm decided to feature a young black model to promote a hooded top with the catchphrase ‘COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE’ certainly proved to be a fiasco, to say the least.

The online advertisement caused profound disappointment and embarrassment amongst the masses, especially amongst the black population of North America. Critics also said that the advertisement is filled with racist undertones.

Major proponents of the pop and rap culture, such as ‘The Weeknd’, ‘Pusha T’, ‘Snoop Dogg’ and ‘Nelly’ used prevalent social media platforms, such as Twitter, to openly denounce the clothing-retail company.

The Canadian rapper and producer, stage named ‘The Weeknd’, publically severed his ties with H&M. He tweeted saying, “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with them anymore”.

Following the uproar, H&M issued a repentant statement on Monday: “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. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again”.

Words have the potential to inflict profound pain and sorrow, was the central message in Mohammed Qahtani’s enthralling and award-winning speech. As I came across the H&M news this morning, I realized the crux of Qahtani’s speech. Having a large public following comes with a set of moral and ethical responsibilities and I feel that H&M infringed upon a large part of these moral and ethical principles, whether intentionally or unintentionally is impertinent. The Internet doesn’t forget or erase and therefore this incident will certainly go down as a bad day in the office for the Swedish multinational fashion retailer. For humanity’s sake, I hope this incident does not make an indelible negative impression on the masses. I hope H&M’s apology statement halts the vicious cycle of negative public representation. The bottom-line being that any negative stimulus on social media platforms is inevitably bound to arouse resentment amongst the masses, and as a global citizen, I do not wish to experience that!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Ashwin Malik

The author is intern with BW Businessworld

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