Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has joined NBA star LeBron James in condemning a H&M advertisement showing a black child wearing clothing, carrying a slogan reading “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
H&M issued an apology on Monday after complaints that the image was racist, and Lukaku was one of a number of high-profile athletes who criticised the retailer.
The Belgian striker shared a picture on Instagram showing the same black model but with the slogan on his hoodie replaced with the words “black is beautiful.”
It was posted alongside the caption: “You’re a prince, soon to be a king. Don’t let anybody tell you different.”
Basketball player James was also part of the social media backlash after the advert was aired.
James wrote on Instagram: “H&M u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!!
“The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! 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!!”
Singer The Weeknd, who has a clothing line at the retailer, says he was “shocked and embarrassed” by the photo and that he would end his ties with the company.
Rapper Diddy posted an image with a sweatshirt revised to read “Coolest king in the world.”
H&M have confirmed the advert has now been removed. A statement read:
“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”