Clicks hair ad: EFF to meet Unilever following 'robust action' threat

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EFF supporters at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, South Africa.
EFF supporters at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, South Africa.
Gallo Images/Lee Warren
  • The EFF is expected to meet Unilever on Thursday, following the outrage that its hair advertisement sparked.
  • In a letter to Unilever CEO Alan Jope, the party threatened "robust action" if there was no response in 24 hours. 
  • The EFF will also meet Clicks' management on Thursday.

 

The EFF is expected to meet British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever on Thursday, after the party gave the company 24 hours to explain its recent TRESemmé advert, which caused outrage after it was published on Clicks' website. 

The party's secretary-general, Marshall Dlamini, wrote a letter on Wednesday stating that it sought answers. It threatened "robust action" after Clicks informed it that the advertisement was commissioned by the entity on its website.

The EFF had, since Monday, targeted Clicks stores nationwide to protest against a hair advertisement that described the hair of the two black women depicted in it as "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull", while the description for the white women's hair was "fine and flat" and "normal".

Clicks said 425 stores had been affected by protests across the country and that it was too early to assess the nature of the damage caused by vandalism. Some stores were bombed or set alight.

On Friday, Unilever issued an apology on its website, saying it got it wrong.

"We are looking into how this happened and why it wasn't picked up, and we will take all necessary steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," its statement read.

According to the EFF, the meeting request came from Unilever and will take place at the EFF headquarters at 10:00.

The EFF delegation will be led by party leader Julius Malema and Unilever will be represented by Keegan Alicks. 

The EFF will also meet Clicks' management, led by CEO Vikesh Ramsunder, on Thursday. Ramsunder apologised on Sunday for the "insensitive and offensive" advertisement published on its website. He said he was "deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website".

In a media update on Wednesday evening, Clicks said stores across the country would reopen for trading on Thursday, with contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Various retailers, including the Shoprite group and Pick n Pay, have since removed TRESemmé products from their stores. 

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