One of the first brand fails of the year is here: Fashion retailer H&M is apologizing for a catalog ad featuring a young black boy in a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase, "Coolest monkey in the jungle," reports the Daily Dot. The online reaction was swift and furious, with a tweet from New York Times columnist Charles Blow summing things up: "have you lost your damned minds?!?!?!" he asked of the Swedish retailer. Another tweet in wide circulation is from designer Alex Medina, who points out that similar hoodies with less-charged phrases had white children as models.
"In the year 2018 there's no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness," writes Medina, per the Guardian. "We have to do better." As for H&M, it says the online ad has been taken down. "We sincerely apologize for this image," reads the mea culpa, which adds that the hoodie in question will not be sold in the US. "We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do, and will be reviewing our internal routines.” (Read more H&M stories.)