H&M outlets in Pretoria and Johannesburg and Boksburg, South Africa, were thrashed on Saturday morning during a protest staged by a group of youth from the Julius Malema led Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The protest came after the global retailer, H&M, flighted an advertisement that was widely condemned as being racist.
The EFF, the third largest and radical leftist styled political party in South Africa, had called for a national protest against H&M. Its members gathered outside H&M outlets in Sandton City (Johannesburg) and Menlyn Park (Pretoria). Some of the members were captured on social media videos thrashing the H&M shops (https://web.facebook.com/moalusisteward/videos/10213515414151164/). And a social media post that appears to be from EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, suggesting H&M got what it deserves, was doing the round.
The concerned post says: The concerned post reads thus: That @H&M nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism. All rational people should agree that the store should not be allowed to continue operating in South Afirca. Well done to the Fighters who physically confronted racism.
H&M has pulled the concerned image and issued an apology. Its statement said “We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States.We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”
This is the second time H&M came under fire in South Africa since entering the country in 2015. When it was questioned for lining up white only model in its launch campaign a company official dismissed the criticism on social media by saying H&M marketing plan intended to convey a positive image. This caused outrage as it implied that black models would contradict the said positive image.