Although the ad has since been removed after outcry that labeled the ad as "racist," the controversy is far from over. According to The Blast, protesters in South Africa completely destroyed several stores in response.
Members of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF) led the protest on Saturday at the Clearwater Mall, as well as several other Johannesburg locations.
"We are here to just remind them that the monkeys own this place ... We are here to inform them, if you want to undermine the black people in this country, these are the results," said Donald Mabunda, EFF member.
Dozens of protesters sang, shouted and danced through the stores.
After taking down the ad, the company issued a statement apologizing for the incident.
"We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top," the statement read. "The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States."
Many weren't pleased with the initial apology and the company issued a second one to its media list later, which you can read in full below.
"To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics.
We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children's sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism.
Our position is simple and unequivocal—we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.
H&M is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society's issues and problems, whether it's diversity, working conditions or environmental protection—and many others. Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion. But we clearly haven't come far enough.
We agree with all the criticism that this has generated—we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists. We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offence but, as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities—and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.
This incident is accidental in nature, but this doesn't mean we don't take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.
We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled.
We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.
Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda.0comments
Please accept our humble apologies."
Photo Credit: Twitter / @JacaNews