The Weeknd has vowed he will never work with H&M bosses again after the launch of an ill-advised new ad that appears to poke fun at racism.
The Starboy hitmaker, real name Abel Tesfaye, was furious when he first saw the offending image of a young black boy wearing a green hoodie sporting the caption “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” on Monday (08Jan17), and he took to Twitter to blast insensitive fashion bosses.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
“woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” he raged. “i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm (H&M) anymore.”
Officials at the Swedish clothing company quickly released a statement apologizing for the offensive undertones of the post, advertising a product available in the U.K.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” company bosses wrote. “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 Weeknd wasn’t alone in condemning both the tasteless image and the company apology, which was considered lackluster and insincere.
Officials at the King Center, founded by slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow Coretta, wrote: “Every company should invest in training that encompasses cultural competency and sensitivity. It is absolutely necessary.”
The Weeknd partnered with H&M bosses last year (17) to launch his second clothing collection for the chain – a range of his favorite menswear outfits. The line was part of the Canadian’s star continuing push into the fashion industry in 2017, following the release of his third Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour merchandise line.
Despite the R&B star’s condemnation of the ad, items from The Weeknd X H&M line were still being offered on the company’s website as of Monday.