Celebrities, local and international, have vowed to boycott international retain brand H&M, after it posted an advert with a black child model wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle".
The advert, which sparked outrage on social media, was posted as part of the brand's global online marketing for its "jungle" theme.
Reacting to the photograph, many called out the brand and called it to be boycotted.
I made this because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M. I'm almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but... this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase... so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him. #mysavoirfaire
Local celebrities were no exception.
Choreographer Somizi Mhlongo lambasted the brand for never having black people in their campaigns, despite operating in South Africa.
"I've never been a fan of H&M since day one [when] they launched in South Africa. First, they never had people of colour in their campaigns, even when they came to Africa. Now, this. Let's show them the power of monkey rand by not buying ish from them," he said on Instagram.
Other celebrities also took to social media to call out the brand for the racist advert.
If the theme was the "Jungle", why couldn't he be a Lion or a Tiger? Why was the black child picked as "The coolest MONKEY"? pic.twitter.com/SzMjnQDMDd— leratokganyago (@leratokganyago) January 8, 2018
You'll never see me at H&M.— R.M Phoolo (@CassperNyovest) January 8, 2018
To which H&M responded with an apology.
We apologise for offending customers with an image of a printed hooded top that was published on selected global online channels.— hmsouthafrica (@hmsouthafrica) January 8, 2018
The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in South Africa.
But that's not enough.
Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, like many social media users, rejected the brand's apology, saying it was not sufficient.
We are absolutely appalled by this racist advertisement attributed to @HM which strips the child in the green of basic human dignity. While we note the apology as necessary we cannot accept that it's sufficient based on the amount of damage it has caused. cc @HMsouthafrica pic.twitter.com/TqSRn164xJ— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) January 9, 2018
Musician The Weeknd announced that he'd no longer be working with the brand.
On Tuesday morning, the brand said on Twitter it would investigate, and undertook to avoid the "mistake" in the future.
We are deeply sorry for offending customers! It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.— hmsouthafrica (@hmsouthafrica) January 9, 2018