Clicks Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder has published an open letter and haircare brand TRESemmé has apologised for its role in the Clicks ad that went viral last week.
However, pickets continue outside Clicks stores in response to the advertisement, which pictured a black woman’s hair as “dry and damaged” and a white woman’s hair as “normal”.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called for a shutdown of Clicks stores following the controversy on Friday. On Monday, numerous party members prevented people from entering Clicks stores.
In response to the continued criticism, Clicks Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder has published an open letter apologising for the images.
“I am deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website. I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and anger these images have caused,” Ramsunder said in the letter.
“The emotive responses of our customers have been mirrored by our employees and management teams.”
He also identified haircare brand TRESemmé as the source of the images for the hair advert. However, he said that this does not absolve Clicks from blame.
Meanwhile, the Clicks employees involved have been suspended.
“Already, the negligent employees have been suspended, and we have engaged the supplier, who has now also issued an apology,” Ramsunder said.
He added that auditing for promotional material will be urgently implemented, as well as diversity and inclusivity training for head office employees.
But he noted that the company needs to do more in terms of transformation.
“We have done a lot in terms of transformation. This issue has clearly highlighted that we have a lot more to do,” he said.
TRESemmé apologises for Clicks hair ad
TRESemmé has also apologised for the images used in the marketing campaign for the brand.
“We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemmé South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair,” the company said.
“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.”
The brand also apologised to Clicks Group.
Clicks continues to trend on social media
The hashtag #Clicks was the top trend on Twitter on Monday. This resulted from continued attention on the brand, as well as EFF shutdowns of Clicks stores.
Other trending topics on Twitter included “racism”, “Julius Malema”, and #EFFMustRise.