A Kenyan couple has been forced to flee their home in Sweden from high tension from the local community after their son was used in the controversial H&M advert that caused outrage.
Terry Mango and Frank Odhiambo, the parents of a young kid who was used as a model for a green hoodie with the message “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” produced by cloth line H&M, confessed that they didn’t expect such an intense backlash.
They said they opted to relocate to another place because of the effects the backlash could have on their son and the raising tension with their neighbors.
“The most unfortunate thing is that my son is very young and there’s a lot that’s going to come with this and that really shakes me a little bit,” said Odhiambo on an interview with Mail Online.
The couple, who live in Stockholm, said that their kid is part of a modelling agency in Sweden and that they were not aware of the writings printed on the hoodie.
‘It is not an overreaction when it comes to racism. Everybody should act differently based on their own opinions on what racism is’ – Terry Mango shares her opinion on the controversial H&M picture of her son Liam… pic.twitter.com/vCoV9KOhHZ
— This Morning (@thismorning) January 15, 2018
To them, it was just another day at work.
“Until the controversy came out we didn’t know there was such a [hoodie],” Mango said.
Their son is still unaware of the controversy surrounding the hoodie and thinks the attention is from his modeling skills.
“He’s seen the pictures and he’s seen pictures online. He believes people love him for his modelling job and that he’s cool and confident in his job,” adds the mother.
The family have also asked for people to respect their privacy saying that since the controversy, they’ve not enjoyed a normal life.
“I respect other people’s opinion on the issue. I know racism exists, but does the shirt to me speak racism? No it doesn’t,” she told BBC Outside Source.
“I [am] a sell out to them, I [am] an embarrassment to the black and African-American people. I sold my son for money.”
“To put the T-shirt and the word ‘monkey’ with racism, maybe that is not my way of looking at it. I’m just looking at Liam, a black, young boy, modeling a T-shirt that has ‘monkey’ on it. I think everyone should respect different opinions on racism,” said Mango.