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The Weeknd Cuts Ties With H&M Over Offensive Ad

The Weeknd has ended his partnership with retailer H&M following a controversial product posted on the company’s website.

The singer took to Twitter on Monday to say he was “shocked and embarrassed” to see the photo, which shows a black child modeling a hoodie that says “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

“I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore,” he wrote.

The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, had been working on ad campaigns and collaborations with the Swedish retailer for his XO brand since 2017.

The ad quickly drew backlash on social media after a photo of it went viral on Tuesday. Other stars, including Questlove, expressed similar outrage.

“I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot and maybe a grand gesture like a donation to some charity (donations under these circumstances are the corporate version #SomeOfMyBestFriendsAre move if there ever was one) all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?” Questlove wrote on Instagram.

Later in the day, LeBron James and Sean “Diddy” Combs also commented on the H&M ad in their own social media posts, with Combs posting an imagine rebranding the sweatshirt to say “Coolest King in the World.”

“I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied!,” James said in his Instagram post, which removed the original message in place of a crown. “We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!!”

H&M issued an apology for the image’s racist undertones. “We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues,” the company told USA Today.

The company later issued a second statement to Pitchfork, saying, “We understand that many people are upset about the image. 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. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

H&M issued a third apology early Tuesday morning with a Twitter post, saying  “We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering.”

“It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again,” the company concluded.

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