The Weeknd HM

The Weeknd cuts ties with H&M over controversial ad

Toronto-based musical artist Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. The Weeknd) announced today that he will no longer be working with H&M after the Swedish retailer made a very, very stupid marketing move.

People around the world have been decrying H&M as racist since Sunday evening, when screenshots surfaced from its U.K. website of a black boy modelling a hoodie that reads "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle."

Yeah. I know.

"This is disgusting & irresponsible," wrote actor Kamaro Brown on Twitter of the product shot. "You know the history of racist using the term 'monkey' to demean people of African descent... and you put this on your website!"

"I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least to find this online imagine," wrote British labour MP Kate Osamor. "@hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?"

After getting over the initial disbelief that this could even happen, despite so many people seeing the image, from stylist to editor to executives to printers, some on Twitter are now calling for a boycott of the fast fashion chain. 

Celebrities, too, are weighing in on the controversy.

The Weeknd, who starred in several H&M campaigns and collaborated with the company on a merchandise line last spring, wrote on Twitter today that he was "deeply offended."

"This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended," said an H&M spokesperson to The Guardian on Monday in light of the backlash.

Indeed, the offensive image of the child no longer appears anywhere on the retailer's website – but the shirt itself remains pictured with nobody wearing it.

Several other versions of the same shirt in different prints still feature images with little boys in them. All of the remaining children are white.

Lead photo by

The Weeknd/Facebook


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