LeBron James is the latest to weigh-in on a tone-deaf ad from H&M featuring a young black model wearing a hoodie with the inscription “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The NBA superstar joined a chorus of criticism that prompted the clothier to take down the ad from its UK website and remove the product from its line.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image,” an H&M representative told The Wrap. “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.”
He shared a repurposed version of the ad replacing its racist undertones with a positive message that he posted on Instagram.
Rapper Chris Classic first shared the edited version of the ad, but the words in James’ Instagram post are his own.
“Enough about y’all and more about what I see when I look at this photo,” James wrote. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied.”
The ad prompted musician The Weeknd to sever ties with H&M, whom he had worked with in the past.
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore… pic.twitter.com/P3023iYzAb
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
At best, the ad being published is a gross oversight and unbelievably stupid. That this image went through an editing process and was presumably approved on multiple levels is inexcusable.