Thousand of South Africans are outraged after an offensive commercial released by haircare brand TRESemmé described a Black woman’s hair described as “frizzy and dull,” while a white woman’s hair is described as “fine, flat” and “normal.”
The South African community took to social media to blast the company, threatening a boycott. Protestors have even lined up outside Clicks stores, preventing members of the public from entering.
According to Reuters, far-left opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has demanded stores be shut nationwide for at least a week.
“This is to ensure that Clicks, which values profits over the dignity of black people in this country feels the consequences of undermining the identity of black people, and presenting whiteness as the standard for beauty. #clicksmustfall,” their statement via Twitter reads.
TRESemmé displayed the ads on the Clicks pharmacies’ website. Following the backlash, the ads have since been removed. Despite placing the advertisement on their website, Clicks vowed to remove all TRESemmé products from its shelf. They will be replacing the global brand with more locally sourced products.
“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,” Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said in a statement.
TRESemmé South Africa also issued an apology, saying: “We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemmé South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promoted 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.”