The mother of a child model at the centre of a storm after being photographed in a “racist” hoodie has told critics to “get over it”.
Swedish fashion giant H&M faced widespread criticism after an image of a black child modelling a top bearing the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” appeared on its website.
The retailer apologised over the incident and said it had removed the image from its website and that the hoodie was no longer available to buy.
But the five-year-old boy’s mother, a Kenyan national living in Stockholm, Sweden, said she did not understand the outrage the image had provoked.
“Am the mum and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modelled… Stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue here… Get over it,” wrote Terry Mango in a social media post which has now been deleted.
In another message, she added: “That’s my son…. av been to all photoshoots and this was not an exception, everyone is entitled to their opinion about this.
“I really don’t understand but not coz am choosing not to but because it’s not my way of thinking, sorry.”
The Evening Standard has contacted the woman for further comment. Her social media profiles show multiple images of her with the boy pictured in the H&M campaign, and also show that she has been bombarded with criticism online.
The image of the boy modelling the jumper sparked a huge social media backlash earlier this week.
It was first brought to light by blogger Stephanie Yeboah, who wrote: “Whose idea was it at @hm to have this little sweet black boy wear a jumper that says ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’? I mean. What.”
Singer The Weeknd said he would no longer work with the retailer after the incident. “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…” he tweeted.
An H&M spokeswoman said the company is in touch with the boy’s mother
“We have been in contact with the child’s mother and we have an ongoing dialogue with her on how we can support them,” she said. “It’s important to us to provide them with any support needed.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering.
“It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”