Alquiler de Coches/Flickr
Some protestors have ransacked stores of H&M that are located in South Africa because of continued anger over a “racist” promotional image that was featured on the website of the retailer.
The said demonstrations were organised by the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition party after the clothing company issued a photo of a black child model wearing a hoodie containing the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
On Saturday, the police made use of rubber bullets in order to disperse a mob from one of the six shops that were targeted in Johannesburg and elsewhere in the Gauteng province
On social media, some videos showed some demonstrators waving placards and singing songs as they walked through a store, while clothes were photographed to be scattered across the floor of another.
“Several incidents of protests at H&M stores around the province have been reported,” stated the South African Police Service (SAPS) on a Twitter post. “At the East Rand Mall, the protesters managed to enter the shop & stole several items. SAPS members had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets.”
The police stated that around 150 EFF members performed a peaceful protest at another store in Cape Town.
EFF urged shopping malls in South Africa to evict the Swedish retailer, which has since apologised and removed the hoodie from their stores.
An MP for EFF, Floyd Shivambu, said in a tweet: “That @hm 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 Africa. Well done to Fighters who physically confronted racism.”
Shivambu claimed that on Saturday, the retailer had been compelled to close all of its stores that are located in South Africa.
In a message that is published on its South African website, the clothing retailer apologised for the image which prompted the protests.
“We have got this wrong, and we are deeply sorry,” said a statement.
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, singer The Weeknd, and NBA star LeBron James were among the high-profile figures who spoke out to denounce the said advertisement.
H&M has since removed the image from its online promotions. However, it remains to be circulated on social media, where some people have called for a boycott of the said company.
Another social media user posted: “This is racist and insensitive. This beautiful boy doesn’t even know what H&M is making out of him. A whole team shooting and no one saw what’s wrong with this.”
A spokesperson from H&M stated: “We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.
“We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print.
“It’s obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”