#PressPlay African People Respond to H & M Racist Ad “We Are Going to Fight by Any Means Necessary”

| January 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

People protest in front of H&M store in Cape Town, South Africa, January 13, 2018, in this picture obtained from social media by REUTERS

H&M stores went into damage-control mode over the weekend after a controversial ad featuring a black child modeling a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle”, sparked protests in South Africa.

The retailer giant closed its South African shops after some outlets were trashed by members of the  EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), South Africa’s biggest opposition group.

EFF leader Julius Malema assembled what they called “Ground Forces” on their 2018 program in Westernberg, Limpopo on Saturday afternoon.

“We are teaching them [H&M] a lesson, we are not going to allow anyone to use the color of our skin to humiliate us, or to exclude us. We are black and we are proud. We are black and we are beautiful. We are black and we are not ashamed of being black.”

Julius Malema said he did not send EFF supporters to trash the stores. “They went because they wanted to go. To say people were sent, it means you are undermining black people that they cannot think on their own. Malema would never put a gun on anyone to go to H&M,” Malema said.

“H&M is aware of the recent events inside several of our South African stores,” the company said in a statement on its website. “What matters most to us is the safety of our employees and customers” and “we have temporarily closed our stores in South Africa.”

PR and communications manager for H&M South Africa, Amelia-May Woudstra said stores in the country have been temporarily closed. “We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable. We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.”

The DA is pushing for the  EFF to foot the bill for the damaged caused by their protest. With 17 stores across the country, employees and staff employed by the retailer face a nervous wait to see if H&M will continue operating in South Africa.

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