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Clicks stores to remove TRESemme products after backlash over ad

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South Africa’s Clicks Group has said it will remove all TRESemme products from its shelves after an advertisement posted on the retailer’s website was accused of being racist.

The advertisement, commissioned by the TRESemme hair company and carried on the Clicks pharmacies’ website, compared two photos of Black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labelling the Black women’s hair “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull”, while the white women’s hair labelled was “fine and flat” and “normal”.

The pharmacy retailer removed the advertisement and apologised, as did TRESemme South Africa.Clicks said all employees responsible for publishing the advertisement have been suspended and it had accepted the resignation of a senior executive.

The advertisement caused an outcry on social media and sparked protests led by far-left opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which demanded stores be shut nationwide for at least a week.

The advertisement also drew criticism from the government with the minister for Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, rejecting Clicks’s apology saying it was “meaningless” and called for the TRESemme products to be removed from its shelves.

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