Terry Mango - whose son Liam starred in a controversial commercial wearing a jumper emblazoned with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle” - has waded into the debate, saying the incident involving her son doesn’t chime with her own definition of racism.
“It is not an overreaction when it comes to racism, everybody should act differently based on their own opinions about what racism is. I know what racism is. I’ve been at the forefront, I’ve had racist remarks directed to me first hand," she said.
“Even the name monkey I’ve been called a monkey before on a cruise ship and my reaction was the same as the world is reacting to me right now. But to put the T-shirt and the word monkey with the word racism, maybe that is not my way of looking at it,” she added.
H&M withdrew the advert from its website following a string of complaints from consumers and celebrities, such as The Weeknd, who announced that he was ending his relationship with the fashion brand.
Alongside a picture of the controversial commercial, The Weeknd, who has a clothing line with the retailer, wrote on Twitter: “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore”
However, Mango has suggested that the public has looked into the commercial too deeply.
Speaking to ITV’s This Morning, she shared: “I’m just looking at Liam, a young black boy modelling a T-shirt that has the word monkey on it. Everyone should respect different opinions on racism.”
Over the past weekend, H&M stores across South Africa were hit by protests which saw many of the retailer's stores closed since Saturday.
The EFF, who led the protests, remains unapologetic despite instances of vandalism at some stores.
Bang Showbiz and IOL