The image showed a black child modeling a graphic hooded sweatshirt that read "coolest monkey in the jungle." Whether it was intentional or due to oversight, the implications were clear: comparisons to monkeys have long been used as a racial slur against black people.
H&M apologized for the offending image on Monday, saying it would determine how it was ever approved in the first place.
"We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print," the company said in a statement. "Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally."
The apology did not move G-Eazy, who was due to release a collaboration collection with the fast fashion behemoth in March.
In an Instagram post, the "No Limit" rapper wrote, "After seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I've decided at this time our partnership needs to end."
"Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it's truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable," he continued.
"I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen."
His words echo those of The Weeknd, the Canadian pop dynamo of Ethiopian descent who collaborated with H&M in 2016. He announced on Twitter on Monday that he would no longer be working with the brand.
They are not the only celebrities to have been appalled by the image. LeBron James and Sean "Diddy" Combs were among those who denounced H&M on social media, sharing a doctored image of the child model as the coolest "king in the world" in lieu of "monkey in the jungle."
It's the first major marketing blunder of the new year. 2017 was a banner year for racist gaffes, with the "White is Purity" campaign by Nivea and the Black Lives Matter-inspired Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner.