The Swedish based clothing retailer H&M on Saturday closed all 17 of their retail outlets in South Africa. The closure came amid protest over an advertisement on H&M’s British website depicting a child model of African descent modeling a green sweatshirt with the words, “coolest money in the jungle” while another sweatshirt was worn by a white child model saying “Mangrove Jungle, Survival Expert.
The backlash was swift as people around the world took to social media to express disapproval. Even celebrities like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Labron James chimed in posting modified images of the advertising depicting the young model with a crown instead of the “monkey” slogan.
In addition, Grammy award-winning recording artist, “The Weekend” who has an endorsement deal with the company on twitter said he was shocked and embarrassed, and would no longer be working with the H&M.
H&M eventually relenting and released the below statement apologizing for the debacle.
However, the statement did not appease angry consumers in South Africa took to H&M retail outlets in protest to demonstrate exactly how they felt about the tone-deaf advertisement by disrupting business turning over clothing racks.
— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) January 13, 2018
EFF supporters at H&M WATCH the trashing… pic.twitter.com/Kw0xUaG4Cb
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) January 13, 2018
As a result, H&M has temporarily closed all 17 stores located in the country.
As far as what is happening on this side of the world, there is talk of boycott as well.