Fact Check: H&M Is NOT Selling A "Koolest Kid In The Klan" Sweatshirt

Fact Check

  • by: Hallie Golden
Fact Check: H&M Is NOT Selling A "Koolest Kid In The Klan" Sweatshirt Not Real

Is clothing retailer H&M selling a sweatshirt for children that says, "Koolest Kid in the Klan," with the three 'K's featured prominently? No, that's not true: An H&M spokesperson said this is a fake photo. The image appears to originate in early 2018, around the time the company became mired in controversy for using an African American boy to model a hoodie that read, "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle."

The claim appeared as a meme in a Facebook post (archived here) published on January 25, 2021. It opened:

They can't be serious.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jan 29 18:32:26 2021 UTC)

The fake layout shows a young Caucasian boy modeling a white hooded sweatshirt for the company's online store that reads, "Koolest Kid in the Klan." Each of the three 'K's are red, while the rest of the letters are white with a black outline.

An H&M spokesperson told Lead Stories in an email on January 29, 2021:

This is a fake photo. We were upset and sad to see this as it goes against everything we stand for. To us, inclusion and diversity is key to the success of a global company and during the past year we have put extra focus on this.

Although the montage of images resembles H&M's current website, including its logo, the overall layout differs in noticeable ways. Both the price and alternate sweatshirt colors are not in the same format found on the company's U.S. website.

The date on the meme reads January 15, 2018, which suggests it would have come out around the time the clothing retailer was facing major pushback for marketing its "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle" sweatshirt with an African American youth as the model.

On January 12, 2018, Lead Stories debunked a post that said H&M was releasing a new collection that is "equally racist to all the other races."

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  Hallie Golden

Hallie Golden is a fact checker at Lead Stories and a freelance journalist based in Seattle. Her articles have been published in such places as The Guardian, The New York Times and Bloomberg CityLab.  She previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Philadelphia, Pa

Read more about or contact Hallie Golden

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