H&M stores trashed in South Africa over 'coolest monkey' hoodie

Carla Harmon
January 13, 2018

Police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said police had to intervene and disperse a crowd using rubber bullets when protesters entered the H&M shop in East Rand Mall and stole several items.

Dozens of EFF protesters wearing same red T-shirt on Saturday morning rushed into an H&M store in Sandton City, one of the most prosperous shopping centers in Johannesburg, vandalizing mannequins and scattering clothes on the floor.

H&M earlier this week issued an apology for the widely criticised ad, which featured a black child modeling a sweatshirt with the slogan "coolest monkey in the jungle".

Meanwhile, the H&M store at the V&A Waterfront has been shut down temporarily by the Gauteng police.

According to local media, similar protests were also seen in other shopping centers nationwide.

"We have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry", a message on its South African website said.

National Basketball Association star LeBron James, rapper Diddy and singer The Weeknd are among the celebrities who expressed shock in recent days over the H&M image, which has been removed from online promotions but continues to be circulated on social media.

"We have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities - and we have not lived up to this responsibility at this time", their statement read.

H&M said despite the incident being "accidental in nature", it still took it seriously and understood the upset and discomfort it had caused.

The company said it had removed the image from all its marketing.

"We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future".

"Therefore, we've not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering". A netizen "TheColouredZimbo" said via Twitter, "What happens if H&M pulls out of South Africa?"

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