One day after The Weeknd cut ties with fashion retailer H&M due to a controversial ad campaign, G-Eazy canceled his partnership with the Swedish company over the same “racially and culturally insensitive” photo, which features a black child modeling a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie.
The rapper wrote on Instagram that he was “genuinely excited” about developing his H&M clothing line, which was expected to launch March 1st, Billboard reports. However, that excitement “quickly evaporated” after he saw the “disturbing image.”
“Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable,” he added. “I can’t allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level.”
The Weeknd tweeted on Monday: “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.” Backlash over the photo spread this week on social media, with various celebrities – including Questlove – blasting the U.K. ad. H&M quickly responded by apologizing, pulling the photo and removing the product from sale.
The company issued another apology on Tuesday, admitting they “got this wrong and are deeply sorry.”
“Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion,” they wrote. “But we clearly haven’t come far enough … 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 appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offense but, as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities – and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.”