The apology issued by major retailer Clicks has been unilaterally rejected by social media users after Friday’s Twitter storm over what have been dubbed “racist images.”
— BeYou???? (@IamSquealer) September 4, 2020
The brand found itself in the firing line for adverts on its site that labelled black hair as “dry & damaged” and white hair as “normal” among other seemingly racially linked positive-negative connotations.
Twitter users accused the retailer of racism, and the posts went viral, with Mzansi calling out the brand, and demanding action.
Since the adverts surfaced on Friday morning, Clicks issued an apology via social media and promised stricter website protocols.
The images have since been taken down.
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
In a statement sent out to the media on Friday, Clicks apologised unreservedly for images published on its website.
“We sincerely apologise for offending our customers and letting you down. We acted swiftly and immediately removed the offending images which were provided by a supplier as part of their marketing campaign. As a brand we recognise that we have a responsibility to use whatever influence we have to remove implicit and explicit prejudice from society, the workplace and our advertising,” said Rachel Wrigglesworth, Clicks Chief Commercial Officer.
“We recognise that we have a role to play in how we represent our diverse customer base in our own and supplier advertising and we sincerely apologise for failing you. We know that we need to do better and commit to making sure that our content reflects the diverse voices and experiences of our customers,” added Wrigglesworth.
Responding to a user calling for a boycott of the retail chain, Clicks wrote that the images “go against everything we believe in.”
You really just going to lie like this?? https://t.co/2E4QG4EKBU
— Justine Abrahams (@Justine_Letitia) September 4, 2020
lol, “go against everything you believe in” kodwa ibhalwe nini? please man. https://t.co/hrSMwYGTpK
— Yams (@_OyamaMakubalo) September 4, 2020
We don’t care. Who approved it? Who put it together? What are the consequences they’re facing?? https://t.co/KCIh5HJxCR
— The Godfather (@dinthotsohle) September 4, 2020
why would you post something you don’t believe in?? https://t.co/1fG06hEwTF
— Ms Africa ???? (@nolt_love) September 4, 2020
— Aya (@ayangomi) September 4, 2020
Were you not aware that your content was racist in the beginning? https://t.co/ctCOK4s1el
— ???????????????? ???????????????????????? ???????? (@Glen_Lurvchild) September 4, 2020
This is not the first time the retail chain has come under fire. Back in 2017, Clicks ran a parenting promotion with a poster showing a white couple expecting a baby and single black woman holding an infant.
At the time, LWWhat asked: “Why are you perpetuating the ‘black women are single parents’ stereotype?”
Following the hair debacle, customers have issued Clicks with a range of demands.
Are you still apologising?
Give us free hair products for the year maan! https://t.co/r6jQFMrI8m
— Ms. Africa ???? (@refilweafrica) September 4, 2020
Put black women on your executive marketing board so we know it’s real …. annnnd for the rest of the month, all hair products for black women should be on sale. https://t.co/jUyIi0J48C
— Lebo (@MsKelebogile) September 4, 2020
Who seats on these boards that approve such racist content? Who liaisons between customer and content producers? This goes deeper than just a “mistake” https://t.co/NjBmVWWCXR
— ????????_aLondywinery♡ (@LondyHeavenz) September 4, 2020