The Falcon Voice

H&M Controversy

Nyah Williams, Journalist

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Entering the year of 2018 there was a hope of ending racial controversies. It only took a couple months for something new to spark up. Clothing company H&M has put themselves into a bit of a box by an image they posted on their online shopping site. The image is of a young black model in a jacket with “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” printing on the front. People took to Twitter to criticize H&M for cultural appropriation. The company acted by removing the image and issuing an official apology, “We understand that many people are upset about the image. 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. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again” (Washington Post). Though this apology was written to show that the company is going to make a change, it only caused past issues to resurrect.

In 2013, H&M released feathered headbands for their music festival line in Canadian stores. The company was criticized throughout social media for the product being offensive to Canada’s first settlers.  The company removed the headband from stores but didn’t issue an apology. Even though past issues came up, the company continued to push that their brand is not racist and they never intentionally created items to cause offense. To many peoples surprise the mother of the young model was on H&M’s side. Terry Mango, the mother of Liam Mango said, “I’m just looking at Liam, a black young boy, modeling a T-shirt that has the word ‘monkey’ on it.” From this you can see that Terry Mango was ok with her son modeling the shirt. It makes you wonder if the situation was blown out of proportion or if the company was being racially ignorant. Terry added another statement that everyone has their own views and opinions on racism. To some the shirt could be considered inappropriate and offensive, as to others it could be seen simply as a shirt. Now take a step back and look at this situation. Was this another event that was blown out of proportion or do you believe that the company was in the wrong? Are the ones who pointed out the situation racist themselves?

 

Image 1: The Washington Post

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H&M Controversy