- The advert featured a five-year-old black child model wearing the hoodie
- Attracted widespread condemnation forcing the company to withdraw it
- Members of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters trashed store in protest
- The also staged demonstrations at other branches of the retailer in South Africa
Activists in South Africa have trashed an H&M store in protest at the clothing retailer’s advert for its ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ hoodie that featured a black child model.
Video shows members of the Economic Freedom Fighters group protesting at three stores at Sandton, Menlyn Park and East Rand.
In one video, claimed to have been taken at the Menlyn store, one of red shirted activists is seen trashing displays, kicking over and pulling down clothes rails as well as pushing over mannequins.
The store in South Africa was trashed in protest at H&M’s advert featuring a black child wearing a hoodie with the words ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’
He was then joined by another activist in a white t-shirt and the pair continued to trash the clothes.
At the Sandton mall, activists were filmed voicing their anger outside the H&M store.
The Swedish fashion chain withdrew the green £7.99 top on its UK and US websites after it caused uproar and quickly issued a statement apologising to ‘anyone it may have offended’.
However the image was still shared thousands of times on social media and drew comments from dozens of high-profile critics.
Manchester United footballer Romelu Lukaku, basketball player LeBron James and music mogul P Diddy are among the celebrities who slammed the advert as shoppers called for a boycott of the chain.
The advert featured child model Liam Mango. His mother has revealed she suffered online abuse after the controversy blew up
Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters staged a protest outside an H&M store at the Sandton mall in South Africa
The campaign group Models Of Diversity, which pushes for more diversification across the industry, said H&M should be ‘ashamed’.
But Terry Mango, mother of the child model, five-year-old Liam, branded the backlash to the image ‘unnecessary’ and urged critics, including global superstars, to ‘stop crying wolf’ and ‘get over it’.
She has also revealed the comments sparked a wave of online abuse and had even been called a ‘monkey’ – the same racist slur that sparked the outrage.
H&M also took to Instagram to express further apology, saying: ‘We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.
‘We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print.
‘Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels but also the garment from our product offering.’
Responding to a customer inquiry H&M South Africa said the offending product ‘was not available in South Africa’.