UPDATE | EFF, Clicks bury the hatchet, Unilever to pull all TRESemmé products for 10 days

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TRESemmé products.
TRESemmé products.
Roy Rochlin, Getty via AFP
  • The EFF met executives from both Unilever and Clicks in separate meetings on Thursday.
  • Unilever vowed to pull TRESemmé products from stores for 10 days, while Clicks reiterated its promise to drop the haircare brand.
  • The EFF says it has put the matter to rest with both parties.

The EFF and retailer Clicks on Thursday said they had put to rest the matter of a racist hair advert which appeared on the company's website.

The political party met both Clicks and Unilever, which licences TRESemmé, in separate meetings in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Clicks and Unilever landed in hot water over an offensive hair advert, created by TRESemmé and published to Clicks' website, that depicted white women's hair as "normal", but black women's hair as "dry and damaged".

ALSO READ | Ron Derby: Clicks, a story of risk that lies at the heart of untransformed boards

The advert was widely criticised and it prompted EFF leaders to call on members to protest outside Clicks stores across the country this week.

Despite securing a court order, at the second attempt, barring EFF members from intimidating staff and shoppers, the health and beauty retail giant decided to close all its stores on Wednesday.

It also announced it would no longer stock TRESemmé products in its stores, opting to replace it with local ones. Clicks reiterated this promise in its meeting with EFF leadership.

Clicks and the EFF also agreed to the following terms:

  • Clicks will donate a minimum of 50 000 sanitary towels (pads), 50 000 sanitisers and masks to rural and informal settlements identified by the EFF.
  • Clicks will award a scholarship to five students to pursue pharmaceutical qualifications in the next academic year (2021). All five must be black, rural, African female and orphaned by HIV/Aids.
  • Lastly, the EFF will work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that agent provocateurs involved in the vandalism of Clicks stores are brought to book.

Earlier in the day, Unilever, for its part, agreed to pull TRESemmé products from all stores for 10 days.

In a joint statement, the EFF and Unilever "agreed that the advert is offensive and racist".

However, the two sidesd could not agree on how to deal with those involved in the commissioning, creation and publication of the ad.

Unilever said "the director involved in the campaign has since left the company and the country".

"Unilever has made a commitment that following its internalinvestigations, the necessary disciplinary action will be taken against those remaining in thecompany in line with its policies. Upon the conclusion of the internal process, Unilever willtake the EFF and the country into confidence," read the statement.

The statement said the entities also agreed on the following:

  • Unilever expresses its remorse to all South Africans, black women in particular, for the racist Tresemmé SA image;
  • Unilever will withdraw all Tresemmé SA products from all retail stores for a period of 10 days as a demonstration of its remorse for the offensive and racist image;
  • In addition, Unilever will donate a minimum of 10 000 sanitary towels (pads) and sanitizers to informal settlements identified by the EFF.

In recent days, several mega-retailers, including the Shoprite group, Pick n Pay, Makro and Dischem, have announced they will no longer be stocking TRESemmé's products.

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