H&M “racist” e-commerce image backlash spills into physical world
Protestors have ransacked H&M stores in South Africa, after an image of a hoodie-wearing black child, accompanied by the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle”, appeared on the retailer’s website.
The demonstrations were organised by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party, with police using rubber bullets to disperse a mob from a store in Johannesburg and another in Gauteng province on Saturday. "Several incidents of protests at H&M stores around the province have been reported," said the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Twitter. "At the East Rand Mall the protesters managed to enter the shop & stole several items. SAPS members had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets."
About 150 EFF members staged a peaceful protest at another store in Cape Town. Floyd Shivambu, an MP for EFF, tweeted: ‘That @hm nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism. All rational people should agree that the store should not be allowed to continue operating in South Africa. Well done to Fighters who physically confronted racism’. He also claimed that ‘all the stores of that racist retailer @hmsouthafrica are CLOSED. Racism must fall and we will never tip toe around racists’.
A H&M spokeswoman said: “This image has now been removed from all our channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”