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Retailer H&M Under Fire For 'Offensive' Wording On Children's Hoodie

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Popular international retailer H&M came under fire over an advertisement featuring a young black child in a hoodie.

It's the wording on the hoodie that has people around the world sounding off.

It looks like an adorable little boy modeling a hooded sweatshirt, but the online advertisement for Sweden based retailer H&M, is causing a lot of controversy. Many called the writing on it racially insensitive.

So insensitive that the brand's campaign star, The Weeknd, said he will no longer work with the company.

Shoppers were also sounding off.

"It is offensive. They gotta understand from different people's point of view how it's gonna be portrayed," Shaleef Blackmon said.

"It sent the wrong message to not just minorities, it sent the wrong message period," one man told 1010 WINS' John Montone.

Those who noticed it Sunday certainly did, and sounded off on Twitter.

Models of diversity asked, 'how on earth can this be?' And New York Times columnist Charles Blow wondered 'Have you lost your damned minds?!?'

One woman tweeted, "Unacceptable, the damage is done."

Rapper Sean " Diddy" Combs tweeted an image with the sweatshirt changed to read "Coolest king in the world."

H&M said the hoodie will no longer sold in the states. The ad has also been removed from all online channels.

In an email sent to CBS Money Watch, H&M said, "we sincerely apologize for this image. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do, and will be reviewing our internal routines."

"They made a mistake, they apologized, and I think ultimately consumers will forget by the end of the week," Ronn Torossian, 5W PR said.

He said the mistake was a stupid one, that likely started out with the first set of eyes, a review board.

"There's some kind of a chief quality officer who should be signing off on these things. Now again, they have thousands and thousands of items for sale and it could've just gotten overlooked if you were just looking at the image and not bring the shirt I could've been overlooked obviously," he said.

Torossian said this isn't the first and certainly won't be the last mistake for a huge company doing business all over the world.


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