The Swedish company was forced to issue an apology after an advert was released which showed a black child wearing a jumper which read "coolest monkey in the jungle". The Weeknd ended his collaboration with them, and social media in general spurned the retailer for the offensive imagery.
Protesters with the Economic Freedom Fighters party ransacked H&M outlet stores, knocking over clothing displays and mannequins, in response to an online ad for a children's sweatshirt that has been perceived as racist.
The protests were staged by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who trashed the H&M stores in Menlyn Park Shopping Center, Pretoria, East Rand Mall and Sandton City Shopping Center in Gauteng. "#SAPS members had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets".
TWITTER•@ABRAMJEEClothes are left strewn across the floor as activists ransack South African H&M stores
eNCA reporter Lindokuhle Xulu, reporting live from the mall, said around 20 security guards were seen at the store.
"This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended", the company said in a statement after social media uproar over the photo. "Black people." He added that H&M, at the end of the day, will remain a billion-dollar corporation. Mr Ndlozi wrote on Twitter, posting pictures of a vandalized H&M store and video footage of chanting EFF supporters.
Some curious shoppers walked passed the closed H&M store, wondering what happened. While officers are monitoring the situation, they said they had not made any arrests so far.
H&M South Africa did not respond to a request for comment, but its local website carried an apology for the advertisement. "We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image".More news: Chelsea Manning Files Paperwork to Challenge Cardin for Senate