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Swedish clothing retailer H&M issued an apology Thursday for using an overly tanned model in its ads.
H&M was criticized by the Swedish Cancer Society for ads featuring a model wearing bright swimsuits and sports a very dark tan.
The retailer was criticized for creating a standard which influenced young people to tan.
"Every year, more people die in Sweden of (skin cancer) than in traffic accidents, and the main cause is too much sunning," the Society wrote. "Regardless of how the H&M model got her tan, through sunning or a computer programme, the effect is the same: H&M tells us we should be very tan on the beach.”
H&M stated that their goal was to sell the bathing suits, not show the color of the model’s skin.
"We are sorry if we have upset anyone with our latest swimwear campaign. It was not our intention to show off a specific ideal or to encourage dangerous behaviour,” its apology read. "We have taken note of the views and will continue to discuss this internally ahead of future campaigns."
The company also noted that Fontana’s nationality is a factor.
“The model in the swimwear campaign is called Isabeli Fontana and she is Brazilian, which means that she has a darker skin tone than most Europeans,” an H&M spokesperson said.