Thursday, April 5, 2018

H&M and The "Monkey" Sweatshirt (2018)

Image of Entrance of store
H&M which is also known as Hennes & Mairitz. H&M is a Swedish multinational retail clothing company and its known for its most recent fashion trends for men, women, teenagers, and as well as children. H&M sells clothes all over the world and has thousands of stores world wide.

It is the latest of  issues for H&M. The company had to end up closing stores in South Africa  and faced social media backlash and evening through out several national news channels after it ran an ad in January of 2018 showing a young  black boy model wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.” This caused outraged all over the internet, even some celebrity signers ended their partnership with H&M. Celebrities made several tweets regarding this sweatshirt ad. H&M received several complaints about this image. They immediately had to remove the image and send out an apology letter. However, the first letter the company sent out it still didn't make customers too happy. They then had to send out a second letter truly apologizing and removing the sweatshirt from both UK and U.S websites and recycling the remaining stock that was left.
Image result for the weeknd and liam mango tweet
Liam Mongo modeled and Celebrity Stephanie Yeboah tweeting about this image.

The stake holders in this case are the company H&M, the customers, the stockholders of the company, the boy who was the model and his family. H&M main goal by this product was to make a profit by it and consumers purchasing this item however the controversy it caused the company immediately sent out an apology letter for the harm it caused people and they removed the picture along with taking the sweatshirt off the markets.
Individualism theory states " the only goal of business is to profit, so the obligation that the business person is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholder". As an individualist you would look at this as an ethical perspective because the business was doing exactly what they should be doing and that is making profit, H&M didn't see this as "racist" or "offensive" they saw this as a young boy modeling just another sweatshirt for the company as Liam's mother would say. The company is trying to sell the hoodie to make money and there's no direct connection with racism other then peoples opinion.

If you look from a utilitarian point of view, which if you look at there overall outcome of the advertisement and the measure of the happiness as a whole. An utilitarian should look at and compare the harm it may have caused with the happiness. Before the picture was even put up the company thought that this new line of sweatshirts for kids was going to benefit them and increase their profit, only it did not go that way in the long run. Almost instantly people shared this photo tagging H&M and saying how awful and offensive this sweatshirt was and stores had to close down in South Africa, it made people very unhappy that a retailer would put this saying on a hoodie with that saying and a young black boy modeling the sweatshirt off.
According to Kant, a good person is someone who always does their duty because that's their duty. It is ok if they enjoy being a good person but its also the case that they would do it even if they don't enjoy being a good person. H&M never did anything wrong, it turning into something wrong by the way people were perceiving this picture how they portrayed this little boy in this hoodie. After the back lash, H&M did do the right thing by taking the picture down and apologizing for any harm that it caused people.
Under the virtue theory there is four main virtues that this theory goes by; Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Bravery. H&M did follow through this most of these however its some what difficult to analyze because H&M mains goals is to make profit with anything they come out with the want to make money. I think in this whole case they were being ethical because they are selling the sweatshirts there intent wasn't to upset anyone or hurt anyone. I do think they should continue to strive and succeed but after this controversy I do think they should carefully focus on what's right and what's wrong and look at the big picture and see how others ( the consumers) view their products, yes, everyone will always have a opinion and H&M did exactly what it should have done and took it down, the company needs to be more aware of what and how their trying to sell their clothing.

 This is the second letter that H&M sent out to the media 


TodayShow. "H&M Apologizes Following Outrage over ' Monkey ' Hoodie Ad Seen as Racist.",
Fortin,Jacey. "H&M Closes Stores In South Africia Amid Protests Over 'Monkey' Shirt ." The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Jan. 2018, 

News, Fox. " H&M Apologizes for 'Coolest Monkey' Ad Featuring Black Child, " New York Post, New York Post, 8, Jan. 2018,
Miller, Joshua Rhett. " Mother of Boy in H&M's ' Coolest Monkey ' Ad Says, ' Get over it' ."New York Post, New York Post, 12 Jan. 2018,

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