Sweden-based H&M has apologized for what many said was an insensitive association between the young model and a hateful slur against black people. It stated it had removed it from all its marketing. The advertisement was widely criticised for being racist, including by Canadian pop star The Weekend, who collaborated with H&M, the world's second-largest clothing group, on two collections in 2017. The company would not again after seeing the advertisement.
The word 'monkey' has long been used by some as a racial slur. Models for Diversity, a British-based organization advocating for more inclusion in the fashion industry, was one of many groups questioning how the photo made it through marketing teams and out into the world.