Parents of the Child Model at Center of the H&M Hoodie Race Row Have Had to Move in Wake of the Controversy – and Reveal Their Fears Over Its Impact on Their Young Son

The parents of the child model at the centre of the H&M race row have admitted their fears over how it will affect their young son – as they reveal they’ve moved out of their home because of the global backlash triggered by the campaign.

Terry Mango, of Stockholm, Sweden, and her partner Frank Odhiambo have spoken about the outrage that greeted an image of their five-year-old son Liam wearing a jumper emblazoned with the phrase ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning on Monday, Terry – who initially raised eyebrows when she said critics should ‘get over it’ – and Frank said they have an ‘obligation to protect’ their children.

‘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,’ Frank said on the show, before adding that Liam is unaware of the controversy around the picture.

‘He believes people love him for his modelling job,’ Terry added.

The parents called for their privacy as a family to be respected, admitting they haven’t had a ‘normal family life’ since the furore broke, and have even had to leave their home in search of respite from the debate.

Frank said: ‘As much as people have gotten involved in this for me, it’s very important to understand that me and Terry, we have a son, we have other children in the home that we are raising and we have an obligation to protect our children.

‘To me if we had a way to take this off I would take it off today. 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.’

Terry said that Liam believes the interest has been generated by his modelling skills, rather than any controversy around the picture itself.

H&M has come under fire over an advert featuring a black child model wearing a jumper emblazoned with 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle'
H&M has come under fire over an advert featuring a black child model wearing a jumper 
emblazoned with 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle'
The boy at the centre of the race row Liam appeared on This Morning with his parents on Monday 

The boy at the centre of the race row Liam appeared on This Morning with his parents on Monday

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1607982.html

Terry previously branded the uproar 'unnecessary' and told people to 'get over it'

Terry previously branded the uproar 'unnecessary' and told people to 'get over it'

She explained: ‘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.’

Manchester United footballer Romelu Lukaku, basketball player LeBron James and music mogul P Diddy are among the celebrities who slammed the advert as shoppers called for a boycott of the chain. Meanwhile musician The Weeknd, who has collaborated and modeled for H&M said he was cutting all ties with the retailer.

The outrage prompted H&M to remove the image from its UK and US websites, and the retailer issued a statement saying it was ‘deeply sorry’.

Terry initially raised eyebrows when she told people to ‘get over it’ when she discovered that her son’s image was at the centre of the controversy.

Speaking on the chat show today, the mother stood by her original argument, and insisted that people should respect the fact she does not believe the image is racist.

She said: ‘I know what racism is. I have had racist remarks directed to me firsthand, even with the name monkey, I’ve been called a monkey before and my reaction was the same as the world is reacting to me right now.

‘To put a 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 modelling a t-shirt with the word monkey on it. Everybody should respect different opinions based on racism.’

She commented in a Facebook post (pictured) that has been widely circulated on social media
She commented in a Facebook post (pictured) that has been widely circulated on social media

The image advertising the £7.99 jumper was removed from H&M’s US and UK websites shortly after news of the outrage broke.

The retailer quickly issued a statement apologising to ‘anyone it may have offended’.

However the image was still shared thousands of times on social media and drew comments from dozens of high-profile critics.

Even those who doubted the brand was being derogatory admitted there should have been more awareness of how the image could be perceived.

His parents said Liam doesn't understand the controversy and thinks people are just impressed with his modelling skills

His parents said Liam doesn't understand the controversy and thinks people are just 
impressed with his modelling skills

The campaign group Models Of Diversity, which pushes for more diversification across the industry, said H&M should be ‘ashamed’.

The brand also took to Instagram to express further apology, it said: ‘We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.

‘We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print.

‘Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels but also the garment from our product offering.’

SOURCE: Daily Mail – Molly Rose Pike