Clothing company H&M found themselves directly in the crosshairs after a controversial advertisement featuring a young boy wearing a “coolest monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt. Now the mother of the young boy in the advertisement is speaking out, telling people to “get over it” and “stop crying wolf all the time,” arguing people were unnecessarily making an issue out of nothing.
Here’s the ad in question:
— alex medina (@mrmedina) January 8, 2018
Some readers chimed in that having a black young man wearing a “coolest monkey in the jungle” shirt was racist, while others had the exact opposite reaction. They felt it was a completely innocent statement that most people say about their young, energetic children, and that calling the shirt racist was actually the more racist viewpoint.
H&M eventually did apologize for the advertisement, releasing a statement that read, in part, “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.”
The boy’s mother is now speaking out in defense of the ad. She wrote on Facebook:
“That’s my son…av [sic] been to all photo shoots and this was not an exception, everyone is entitled to their opinion about this. This is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modelled… stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue.”
Early reaction on Twitter was mixed. Here’s just one sample of the larger conversation happening online today:
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.
— ΛJ (@alanajoy) January 7, 2018
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.
— Dylan (@cfcdyIan) January 7, 2018
While one could argue H&M should’ve clearly realized, no matter how innocent the photo is, that some would make an issue out of the whole ordeal. Then again, the old PR saying says that no publicity is bad publicity, and millions of people are now viewing H & M clothing in the past several days when they otherwise wouldn’t have.
So, was this a bold and risky publicity stunt? Was this a case of the pc police running wild, making an issue out of absolutely nothing? Or was this a massive fail by H&M?