‘We are deeply sorry’, says Clicks CEO after outcry over hair advert

Clicks is at the centre of a public outcry over the TRESemmé campaign, which referred to black natural hair as ‘dry, damaged, and frizzy’, while white natural hair was depicted as ‘normal’.

JOHANNESBURG – Amid threats to shut down Clicks stores and promises to boycott the franchise over a racist advertisement campaign, Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder has apologised, saying that he was deeply disappointed that the company allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on its website.

Clicks is at the centre of a public outcry over the TRESemmé campaign, which referred to black natural hair as “dry, damaged, and frizzy”, while white natural hair was depicted as “normal”.

“We apologise unreservedly for the heightened anger the publication of these images has caused. We are deeply sorry,” Ramsunder said.

READ: Clicks CEO’s apology over offensive hair ad

The retail pharmacy company posted an apology on all its social media pages on Friday, but many were not so forgiving, with some calling for a boycott of Clicks stores.

“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 said.

Ramsunder said that Clicks would do things differently from now on.

“This incident has highlighted the need to audit all our third-party and our own promotional material for any implicit, explicit, and bias as well as the need for diversity and inclusivity training for all our head office employees,” he said.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Sunday ordered his party’s members and supporters to “attack”.

The red berets said that the transgression by the store went far beyond an advert, adding that it represented a cornerstone of anti-black racism which showed itself through the disparaging of black people.

The EFF issued a number of ultimatums for the retailer, calling for the sacking of those responsible for the advert, among other things.

Clicks said that it would be trading as usual on Monday morning.

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