Outrage in South Africa as retail group Clicks has had to shut stores today after a protest by the Economic Freedom Front for a controversial Tresemme hair advert. The red berets have been protesting since Monday morning at 37 branches of Clicks stores across the country. The haircare advert featuring Tresemme appeared on the retailer’s website last week portraying a white women’s hair being labelled as normal while ethnic black women’s hair was compared to being dry and damaged.
Clicks Group CEO, Vikesh Ramsunder says what happened is disappointing and are looking to make amends. Two staffers implicated in the release of the advert have been suspended following the controversial advert. “I am deeply disappointed. I couldn’t believe this happened within our organisation because until Thursday I thought we were in the right direction around transformation we have done enormous work.”
Clicks can go to hell say the Economic Freedom Fighters
Economic Freedom Front (EFF) supporters have been protesting at various Clicks stores outlets since Monday morning. The EFF has vowed to shut down the outlets with protests. On Monday morning, lawyers representing the retail company issued a warning to the EFF that the company would be operating as usual. Marshall Dlamini of Economic Freedom Front says the party would not be backing down on shutting down Clicks nationwide.
“We are going to the ground, we are going to close all the stores. That is a directive of the EFF. We are going to close the doors of Clicks today, that’s what’s going to happen when we arrive. There’s no Clicks store that’s going to trade today, it’s guaranteed.”
“If there’s picketing or unrest around our stores, we will close our doors. It’s very important that our employees are protected. We certainly cannot bow to threats and violence. It’s not acceptable in any democracy.”
Unilever SA, TRESemme’s parent company, published an apology on its website that read: “We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemme South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair.
“The campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong.”
Ramsunder has iterated that the company would keep their customers and staff safe during the protests. Read Clicks Group CEO, Vikesh Ramsunder apology here
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