Canadian R&B star The Weeknd says he's cutting ties with H&M after being "deeply offended" by an ad for the retailer showing a black child in a hoodie bearing the phrase "Coolest monkey in the jungle."
The Toronto performer noted online he was "shocked" by the ad, which prompted him to end his partnership with the multinational company.
The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, previously teamed up with the Swedish fast-fashion retailer to release special edition menswear collections.
NBA star LeBron James, rapper Diddy and other artists have also responded with outrage to the image. James posted a refreshed image showing the model wearing a crown. Diddy posted an image with a sweatshirt revised to read "Coolest king in the world."
@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️
Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QVaxgngwh1— @Diddy
Originally from H&M's U.K. website, the image earned social media condemnation late Sunday and on Monday; criticized as being everything from tone-deaf to shockingly ignorant to racist. Some called for a boycott of the retailer.
In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better. pic.twitter.com/Av4bS4t6yn— @mrmedina
@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— @KaramoBrown
H&M apologized for the advertisement on Monday. As of early Monday afternoon, the hoodie remained available for sale on the retailer's U.K. website.
"This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended," an H&M spokesperson said.