South African group Clicks has announced it will be removing all TRESemme products from its shelves after an advertisement posted on the retailer’s website was accused of being racist.
The ad, commissioned by hairstylist TRESemme and run on drugstore site Clicks, compared two photos of black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labeling black women’s hair “dry and damaged” and “frizzy.” and dull, “while the white women’s hair labeled was” thin and flat “and” normal. “
The pharmacy retailer has withdrawn the ad and apologized, as has TRESemme South Africa.
Clicks said all employees responsible for posting the ad have been suspended and have accepted a senior executive’s resignation.
The ad sparked an uproar on social media and sparked protests led by the far-left opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, which demanded the closure of stores across the country for at least one week.
The ad also drew criticism from the government, with Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni dismissing Clicks’ excuses saying they were “meaningless” and calling for TRESemme products to be removed from its shelves.
Unilever SA, the parent company of TRESemme, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The removal of products from Clicks shelves hasn’t stopped South Africans from turning to social media to show their anger.
It’s not about hair … or weaving … or lighters for the skin … it’s about RACISM … each ad being a mini act of aggression against who I am as that black child and leaving a cut and all the excuses leaving a scar … we are full of scars … #stopbeingtone-deaf#STOPRACISM
– Yolanda Cuba (@Yolandacuba) September 8, 2020
CLICKS MALL OF AFRICA
Clicks can no longer avoid liability.
– TYRONE MKANSI (@Tyrone_Mkansi) September 8, 2020
On Tuesday, some Clicks stores in South Africa remained closed after protesters damaged seven stores the day before.
“We recognize that this event has had a significant impact on our employees and customers and we have made the decision to close our stores for one day on Wednesday September 9,” said Vikesh Ramsunder, CEO of Clicks, in a statement.
Courts on Tuesday prevented the EFF from preventing Clicks stores from opening and intimidating employees and customers, local news channel eNCA reported.
EFF denied the report, saying they would continue their protests until Friday.
It should be clear to Clicks that the court did not declare the protest illegal and, therefore, the legal and peaceful protests continue until Friday. #clicksmustfall
– Fighters for Economic Freedom (@EFFSouthAfrica) September 8, 2020
It is unclear what effect the store closings would have on the company, which has previously warned trading will be difficult for the rest of its fiscal year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Manufacturers of consumer packaged products have reconsidered their marketing following global protests against racial injustice. Several brands have scrapped black advertising mascots.
Reuters News Agency