Clicks on the South Africa pharmacy chain closed its stores Wednesday after a racist ad on its website sparked violent protests.
Clicks amid anger at ad for shampoo brand TRESemmé, labeled black women’s hair images “curly and dull” while describing white women’s hair as “nice and flat” and “normal.”
Clicks apologize for running the ad and removed it from its website after it was posted on Friday. The chain said an unnamed senior executive responsible for the test had resigned and all employees involved in the publication of the ad were suspended.
But the ad nonetheless led to an online backlash and demonstrations that shattered seven Click stores on Monday. A store in the municipality of Emalahleni was hit by a gas bomb that set fire to a shopping cart, according to local news outlet TimesLive.
The protesters were led by the Economic Freedom Fighters, a left-wing political party that called on the chain to close its stores for at least a week.
“White people insulted us and then they apologized, they thought that was the end,”; said Julius Malema, the party leader. “We will no longer accept any apology that is not accompanied by justice.”
The clicks were initially opposed to calls to close stores on Monday, according to a statement on his Twitter account. But CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said the company would “provide advice and support” to store staff at closing all day Wednesday.
The chain also promised to replace all TRESemmé products with “local sourced haircare brands” on store shelves. The Unilever-owned brand released its own apology and acknowledged that the ad “promotes racist stereotypes about hair.”
“The campaign was set to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions offered by TRESemmé, but we were wrong,” TRESemmé, owned by Unilever, said in a statement posted. on its website. “Images do not conform to the values of our brand, or Clicks.”
Using Post wires