It has not been a good week for anyone over at H&M's PR department.
The fashion retailer was called out Monday for an advertisement that featured a Black boy dressed in a hoodie that referred to him as a monkey, which prompted intense backlash against the company and an outpouring of support for the young model from people on Twitter:
Apparently, the company took notice: Early Tuesday morning, H&M responded to its critics by pulling the advertisement and the hoodie itself from its site, and sharing a formal apology on its Instagram account.
"We understand that many people are upset about the image," the post read. "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 globally."
H&M deemed the ad a "mistake" and suggested that the company's "routines haven't been followed properly," promising an investigation to prevent such errors from occurring again.
While likely well-intentioned, the apology came too late for some people: As soon as the ad went viral Monday, Questlove predicted that an apology was on the way; LeBron James and others posted variants of the little boy's photo that showed him as a king; and R&B singer The Weeknd announced on Twitter that he would no longer be collaborating with H&M.
And here's the other thing: The backlash won't end with a single Instagram post or with H&M destroying all of the controversial garments. People want to know how and why something like this happened, and they want the company to prove that it won't happen again.
How do you think H&M should resolve this?