A senior executive at Clicks has resigned following a public backlash and violent protests by the EFF over a hair advert deemed as “racist”.
Clicks says the manager responsible for publishing the controversial TRESemmé advert on the company’s website has quit, while several staff members involved have been suspended.
In addition, Clicks will remove all TRESemmé hair products from its shelves and close all its 880 stores today to prevent further damage.
About seven stores have been trashed during the protests.
Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni previously weighed in on the matter, rejecting Clicks’ apology over the advert, calling it ‘meaningless’.
“Clicks misses the point that the offence is not only about the images that are insensitive but the fact that it represents the views of TRESemmé that are racists and reflects the continued undermining of the beauty of African women and the violence they suffer when they are deemed not meeting certain superficial standards,” Ntshavheni said.
The health and beauty chain came under fire on Friday when it placed an advert negatively representing frizzy and bushy women’s hair on their website.
In a TRESemmé marketing campaign, they posted pictures of afro hair and labelled it “dry, dull and damaged”.
Meanwhile, straight blonde hair, was labelled “normal” and “fine and flat”.
Previously, the EFF said Clicks and TRESemmé’s apologies were not enough and demanded that those involved in the commissioning of the advert be axed.
An EFF-led campaign on Monday forced the closure of 452 stores across SA.
The political party said it was prepared to keep up the protests for the rest of the week, claiming it would hit Clicks financially.
Yesterday morning, Clicks was granted an interim interdict barring the EFF from intimidating and threatening its staff and customers.
The interdict was granted by the Gauteng High Court, and EFF members then staged sit-ins at various stores, preventing it from opening.
The EFF national chairperson Veronica Mente, who led the protests at Clicks’ Goodwood Mall branch, confirmed that four party members were arrested in George.
They were later released without any charges.
Vikesh Ramsunder, Clicks Group CEO, says: “We recognise this event has had a significant impact on our people and our customers and we have taken a decision to close our stores for a day on Wednesday, 9 September.
“Apart from suspending all employees involved in publishing the recent offensive advertisement, Clicks has accepted the resignation of the senior executive responsible.”
Ramsunder also confirmed that Clicks will be “de-listing and removing all TRESemmé products from their shelves with immediate effect and will be replacing the gap with locally sourced haircare brands”.