Unilever has agreed to withdraw all TRESemmé products from all retail stores for a period of 10 days as a demonstration of its remorse for the offensive and racist image published to the Clicks website.
This decision comes after the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) met with Unilever on Thursday [September 10] to discuss the way forward. In a joint statement, they announced that Unilever apologises to all South Africans and black women in particular for the ad.
“The EFF and Unilever agreed that the advert is offensive and racist,” read the statement. “However we could not find each other on the publishing of the names of people responsible for the racist image. Moreover, the director involved in the campaign has since left the company and the country.
“Unilever has made a commitment that following its internal investigations, the necessary disciplinary action will be taken agains those remaining in the company in line with its policies. Upon the conclusion of the internal process, Unilever will take the EFF and the country in confidence.”
In addition to removing their products from major retailers for a short period, Unilever will also donate a minimum of 10 000 sanitary towels (pads) and sanitisers to informal settlements identified by the EFF.
Joint Statement of The EFF And Unilever On The Tresemme-SA Racist Image pic.twitter.com/IWxr93TSka
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) September 10, 2020
However, it seems this may be too late. More major retailers are pulling TRESemmé from their shelves in the wake of the massive backlash.
Clicks was the first to announce they would no longer sell TRESemmé products, followed by the Shoprite/Checkers Group.
Woolworths confirmed to EWN that they would also stop selling TRESemmé. Pick n Pay will also ban the sale of these products at their store. Both Makro and Dis-Chem announced via Twitter that they will no longer sell TRESemmé products at any of their stores nationwide.
Makro SA has removed Tresemme from sale at all stores.
— Makro South Africa (@Makro_SA) September 10, 2020
Hi there, thank you for the mention. We have confirmed that all TRESemme products have been withdrawn from our shelves. The decision was taken on Tuesday and has been implemented across our stores nationally.
— Dis-Chem (@Dischem) September 10, 2020
One of Clicks’ senior executives has resigned following the scandal. The employees who allowed the advert to go live will undergo a disciplinary review process, and CEO Vikesh Rumsander says that he has realised the detrimental impact the campaign has had on both its customers and the public at large.
Clicks has reopened to the public on Thursday [September 10] after closing all stores on Wednesday [September 9] to engage with their staff members.
Picture: Twitter / TRESemmé