Amid the backlash, the NBA star offered his own design, along with a message of empowerment and positivity.
Global clothing retailer H&M found itself in damage control mode on Monday when singer The Weeknd took to Twitter denouncing the company’s clothing ad featuring a young black boy wearing a hoodie that reads “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The Canadian singer announced in his message that he would be cutting all professional ties with H&M. He had partnered with the company in 2017 as a model and spokesperson. On Tuesday, rapper G-Eazy, who also worked with H&M, announced he too would be terminating their relationship.
Here is the tweet from The Weeknd, which quickly went viral:
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm an… https://t.co/684367Ox9k— The Weeknd (@The Weeknd) 1515439241
Basketball icon LeBron James was quick to join the chorus of outraged individuals over the insensitive photo, offering his own take on the situation using some Photoshop work. In the caption to his Instagram post, James took a decidedly positive stance in his response, offering a message of empowerment and hope.
Amid the very public backlash ignited by The Weeknd’s tweet and James’ response, H&M was quick to pull the sweatshirt. On Wednesday, they offered an apology for the image:
"We agree with all the criticism that this has generated – we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists… We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.''
There’s been no word yet on whether the company is interested in licensing LeBron’s markedly improved design, but there’s clearly an opportunity to turn the sentiment around by embracing the basketball star’s stance on the matter.