Last week, international fashion retailer H&M was the target of some serious backlash after one of their recent online advertisement for their children’s clothing line was seen as racist by many people.
The fashion chain was selling children’s hoodies on their U.S. and U.K. online stores inscribed with the phrases “Coolest Monkey In the Jungle” and “Mangrove Jungle Official Survival Expert Junior Tour Guide.”
When the hoodies were initially posted to H&M’s U.K. website, people noticed that the green-colored “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” hoodie was modeled by a black child and many were offended by it.
Although “monkey” is often used by parents as a term of endearment, the historic context of the word has been deemed offensive by many black people because it was once used to demean them.
“ @hm this is disgusting & irresponsible,” wrote an angry Twitter user. “You know the history of racist using the term “monkey” to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website! ‘Coolest Monkey In the Jungle’ #SMH“
@hm this is disgusting & irresponsible. You know the history of racist using the term “monkey” to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website! 😡😡😡😡 “Coolest Monkey In the Jungle” #SMH pic.twitter.com/IY877D2d8R
— Karamo Brown (@KaramoBrown) January 8, 2018
The Swedish-based retailer later apologized, but some people decided to take matters into their own hands with a little help from Photoshop.
Soccer player Romelu Lukaku was one of the first to kick start the trend of doctoring the boy’s photo to appear less offensive. He changed the words on the hoodie to “Black is Beautiful,” and shared his work on Instagram.
While some users redesigned their own versions of the hoodie with positive messages, the trolls also jumped on the bandwagon with some tasteless edits. One person went as far as using a photo of Madeleine McCann, who went missing a few years ago.
A source close to the McCann’s gave a statement to The Sun revealing how Maddie’s parents, Gerry and Kate, feel about the entire situation.