A racist ad, the backlash and an apology - how Clicks got it horribly wrong
Health and beauty retailer Clicks says it will trade on Monday despite calls by the EFF to shut down its stores over a racist hair advert.
Here's a wrap of the controversy:
The advert and the backlash
The retailer trended on Twitter on Friday after it labelled black hair “dry” and “damaged” in an ad on its website, while blonde, straight hair was labelled “fine” and “flat.” Scores of South Africans were outraged by the advert and called out the retailer on social media for its discrimination and prejudice against black natural hair.
Some said the advert was put out on purpose to “stir racism” and “provoke” black people, while others said the retailer must sell natural hair care products at discounted prices to show solidarity with black women.
Members of the EFF, led by deputy president Floyd Shivambu, protested outside the Clicks retail store in Sandton City as part of a nationwide protest on September 7 2020. This comes after the retail group released a TRESemmé advert on its website that has been condemned by the EFF as racist. Meanwhile, police are investigating several incidents across the country where stores were vandalised.
Clicks must apologize by giving every woman with natural hair a voucher to buy natural hair products to the value of R1000, they insulted our hair, they must pay.......If not they will lose us to Dischem permanently!#clicksmustfall#clicks pic.twitter.com/Yc1xW6Mbnz— SingsBeja (@Singatwa13) September 4, 2020
This thing of corporates thinking they can just say “sorry” for racism and everything should be fine, is actually sickening.— IZWELETHU 😭✊🇿🇦 (@miss_andisa) September 6, 2020
If Black people boycott the companies that don't respect Black people.— #BrandsofAfrika (@zonkezakhe_M) September 5, 2020
That company's revenue will drop by 70 to 85 % ?
Yet we never exercise this power.
Unfortunately we are held at ransom for the low paying jobs these companies provide for Black people.#clicksmustfall
WITH THAT BEING SAID! I sincerely call upon all the African Woman in SA, Show them that you cannot be stopped ! You hold the power! Since talk is cheap and we can tweet all we want I ask that on the 5th and 6th we don't buy anything frm @Clicks_SA #clicksmustfall #RacismMustFall— African King (@ZakesBantwiniSA) September 4, 2020
Clicks issued an “unequivocal” apology, saying the images go against its values.
“We do not condone racism and are strong advocates of natural hair. We are deeply sorry and will put in place stricter measures on our website,” it said.
We would like to issue an unequivocal apology. We have removed the images which go against everything we believe in. We do not condone racism and we are strong advocates of natural hair. We are deeply sorry and will put in place stricter measures on our website.— Clicks (@Clicks_SA) September 4, 2020
We have made a mistake and sincerely apologise for letting you down. We recognise we have a role to play in creating a more diverse and inclusive S.A, starting with our website content. We know we need to do better, and commit to ensuring our content better reflects this value.— Clicks (@Clicks_SA) September 4, 2020
The EFF on Sunday condemned the advert and called on its “fighters” and “ground forces” to shut down all Clicks stores around the country on Monday.
According to the statement, EFF leader Julius Malema will occupy the Mall of the North in Polokwane, Limpopo, deputy president Floyd Shivambu will be deployed to Sandton City in Gauteng and secretary-general Marshall Dlamini will occupy Mall of Africa in Midrand.
Clicks will trade on Monday
The retailer issued another statement on Sunday, saying it will trade despite threats made by the EFF to shut down all its stores.
“Clicks provides a much needed health-care service to South Africans and stores will not be closed. Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure the safety of both customers and staff,” it said.