H&M to Work With South African Marketing Companies Following "Racist" Hoodie Scandal

H&M Racist Hoodie - Screengrab - H 2018

The move follows widespread protests by the Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa.

H&M is making moves to prevent another mistake like the "racist" hoodie debacle that occurred earlier this year. 

In January, the brand was called out by customers for posting photos on its website of a young black boy in a hoodie reading "Coolest Monkey In the Jungle." H&M apologized, but that didn't stop famous collaborators including The Weeknd and G-Eazy from pulling out of their contracts with the fast-fashion retailer. H&M was also slammed by celebrities like LeBron James and Diddy on social media.

In South Africa, the Economic Freedom Fighters — South Africa's self-described "radical and militant" opposition party — launched widespread disruptive protests leading to the destruction of some H&M stores. All 17 of the country's H&M locations were temporarily closed following the protests. 

In response, H&M has agreed to work with South African marketing companies to address the issues that allowed for such a misstep to occur. The news was first announced by Ahmed Kathrada Foundation director Neeshan Balton, according to The Citizen.

Immediately following the protests, H&M released a statement reading, "We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image."

H&M's efforts to right its wrong show follow-through on its multiple apologies which were issued in the days following the scandal. "We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in the future," said the statement.

Sales in 2018 have been off to a rocky start, causing the retailer to shutter stores globally and sending American stock to nine-year lows. However, the sales decline started in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2017, well before the hoodie scandal.