How Saira Khan defended H&M's "Monkey in the Jungle" hoodie ad

Posted by Ria, 11 Jan

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

“I didn’t make a racist connection”. That is what Loose Women’s panelist Saira Khan said in defense of H&M advert which stirred controversy and outage from shoppers criticizing it for being racist. The advert featured a black boy wearing a green hoodie with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”.

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The Swedish retail chain was criticized over the ad. But even after such backlash, Khan still maintains she never made the racist connection. If anything, she would purchase it for her mixed-race son because he is a “cheeky little monkey”. Apparently, all she saw was a kid in a little t-shirt.

“I think you have to have a racist mind to make that link”, she continued. “I don't look at my life through racism. But now that it has been pointed out it does make me feel uncomfortable.”

She defended H&M saying they made an honest mistake. Being racist wasn’t the intention.

Much as she says she never made a connection, most people did. Rapper Weeknd tweeted saying he was not going to work with the retailer anymore posting: “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore...”

H&M have removed the ad and were apologetic a released statement:

“We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print.

We have removed the image from all our channels and the sweater is no longer for sale in our stores. We will also look into our internal routines to avoid such situations in the future. We will continue the discussion with The Weeknd and his team separately.”

H&M insisted how they are for diversity. Sincere? What say you?

9 responses to "How Saira Khan defended H&M's "Monkey in the Jungle" hoodie ad"

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  1.   stuttgart63 says:
    Posted: 12 Jan

    God bless America and dein führe

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  2. Posted: 12 Jan

    Initially, I read the article because it's the hot topic of the moment, and as usual the commentator(s) are worse than the actual situation. I applaud, and extend a kudos to Saira Khan but.. the sentiment arises from this side of the world; as Khan is a resident of the United Kingdom, and Kashmiris heritage; it's disingenuous on the side of the writer to speak with someone who doesn't reside, and wasn't reared in the United States. While certainly entitled to their opinion, it's not just or fair account of "why" the discontent. Without knowing "ALL" the facts, I'm giving this Swedish Retailer the benefit of doubt but in the future their advertising and marketing department need to be diligent in their homework. African-Americans, and other brown folk in the era of Trump, and white nationalism are the reason for the heightened awareness and sensitivity. The south, and it's long racist history with the use of the word monkey in reference to African Americans and offspring of slaves. Unilever / DOVE is another company that discovered being tone deaf is not something you want to find out

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    • OzzyFan says:
      Posted: 14 Jan

      Why don’t we stop referring to black people as “African-American”? Are you one of those leftist liberal, closeted racists who assumes every person of dark skin in the USA came from a decendant of Africa? Do you think Jamaicans would appreciate being called “African-American”? How about black people from Guyana? Do you just SEE a black person and auto-assume they are of African decent? THAT’s pretty “racist”, dear liberal. There are also plenty of various colors of actual monkeys so to take offense is typical of liberals who spend their every waking hour LOOKING for something to complain about.

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      • JoeyButter says:
        Posted: 17 Jan

        I think you're confused. The term African American is appropriate. It refers to those Americans of African descent. Whether the immediate ancestry hails from Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, or Alabama, if their ancestry is African, then the term is appropriate. They are Americans of African ancestry, and this is applicable to the vast majority of "black" people in the US. If a "black" or "dark skinned" person does not have African ancestry, then they won't identify as African American, nor would they likely be referred to as such. I doubt that a white European that emigrated from South Africa would be considered African American. It's just that simple. Unfortunately, in the US, some non African Americans, right wingers and liberals alike, often lump anyone who has "dark skin" as African American. It's ignorant, lazy at best, or intentionally dismissive. But for the most part, the term is appropriately applied.

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      • MollySmile says:
        Posted: 19 Jan

        I can identify however I want. I am a descendent of slaves & identify as African American. The real question is, why does that bother you? Who are you to tell other humans what they can & can't identify as? JoeyButler was nice to explain, but I don't explain the difference between black & African American. Do ALL white people & descendents of Europeans just identify as "white"? Or do they proudly say they're Italian, British, Swedish, or any other Euro descent? Stop trying to police how others identify.

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    • JoeyButter says:
      Posted: 17 Jan

      Excellent comment. Although I wouldn't limit the derogatory implication of the advertisement to US residents. "Monkey" has also been commonly used as a derogatory slur towards people of African descent in many European countries, including the UK. I'm not surprised Saira Khan was not immediately offended, but it does speak to her lack of awareness. Afterall, she later admits to recognizing the implication after it was brought to her attention, and further admitted that she now feels uncomfortable with it. So clearly, it's real issue. Some folks like to deflect by saying you have to have a racist mindset to view the image as derogatory. But that's just another means of deflecting from the real issue, the history of discrimination and inhumanity, and the ongoing bigotry often disguised as nationalism. Great comment.

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  3.   OzzyFan says:
    Posted: 12 Jan

    Ugh, I hate when I miss a typo. My sentence should have been “the SAME liberal left...” not sane*, those people are anything but sane. LMAO!

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  4.   OzzyFan says:
    Posted: 12 Jan

    Ok let me try to understand this LOGICALLY... The cry baby liberal left has an issue about seeing a hoodie proclaiming the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” by a BLACK male child model as being ‘racist’, yet a couple of things come to mind here: 1) Humans always make the monkey reference as there are those of us who don’t believe in religions that tell us that a “god” created people, that the earth is flat and only 6000 yrs old. 2) The sane liberal left cry babies (white people mostly included here) don’t seem to have a problem with rap music and ‘ghetto’ black and Latino people referring to each other as “nigga”. In fact, I work with a lot of white liberal females who switch up their persona around the black employees and say things like “my nigga (boyfriend) told me he wasn’t gonna be able to see his son this weekend”. So all in all, the liberal cry babies need to STFU because they are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. This “Rapper Weeknd” guy also needs to STFU as I’m sure he also drops the word “nigga” in his daily speech. Liberals - STFU! Stop LOOKING for things to complain about. How miserable are your lives that you literally spend every waking moment LOOKING for things to complain about? You should truly be ashamed of yourselves.

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