H&M Closes Stores Across South Africa After Protests Over Racist Ad


Clothing brand H&M closed stores across South Africa on Saturday (Jan 13) after protesters vented their rage at many locationsThey were fighting against an ad in which a Black child wore a sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

Protesters took to the streets after the picture went viral on social media. They even threw racks of clothing to the ground, toppled security sensors and were destructive.

The protesters were led by the Economic Freedom Fighters, an opposition party. The group’s leader Julius Sello Malema said, “We will never be told by any fool on how to fight against our oppression, particularly those who have never been at the picket lines. There’s no formula on how you should fight the oppressor, expect more action against all racists, individually and collectively this year.”

H&M said in a statement that it’s “aware of the recent events inside several of our South African stores”. It said it has “temporarily” closed all stores in the country.

“None of our staff or customers have been injured,” H&M said. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will open the stores as soon as the situation is safe again.”

H&M has 17 locations in South Africa.


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Following backlash over the ad, the company has taken it down. Two musicians, The Weekend and G-Eazy, also cut ties with H&M because of the ad.

The company has apologised to anyone it may have offended. It said that it was investigating why this happened and was seeing how to prevent this type of mistake again

“We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable,” the statement reads. “We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image,” H&M said in a statement.

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Picture Credit: News.com.au