"No one should make jokes about the dignity of black people and be left unattended to," says EFF leader Julius Malema.
Militant South African political party EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) will meet with H&M management to discuss the racist "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle" ad, HuffPost South Africa reports.
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. pic.twitter.com/cgdedYGoOj
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) 13 January 2018
This comes after the party vandalized H&M shops in both Pretoria and Johannesburg over the weekend. Protests were also held in Cape Town. H&M has since closed all its shops in the country, issuing a statement on Twitter:
"We are aware of the recent events in several of our South African stores. Out of concern for the safety of our employees and customers, we have temporarily closed all stores in the area. We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable.
We stress that our store staff had nothing to do with our poor judgment of producing the children's hoodie and the image."
Why are your press statements written anonymously? A press statement gets signed off and directs further queries to a point of contact. You cannot cause harm, then hide. It shows distance & disdain & cowardice. https://t.co/L7lbtfclip
— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) 14 January 2018
South Africans were divided in their reactions to the Pretoria and Johannesburg incidents. Some felt vandalism wasn't the answer, while others felt the EFF acted accordingly.
do you know who'll have to clean this up?
do you know who'll be held responsible for this?
black security guards.
do you know who'll lose their jobs if the store is shut down?
do you know who'll remain a billion dollar corporation after this?
— saint laurent mask (@nasmaraj) 13 January 2018
H&M refused to repair their Bangladesh factory and it collapsed killing 1138 sweat shop workers, so pls, tear the fucking place down for whatever reason you see fit
— Raquel Inacihoe (@Raquelinacioo) 13 January 2018
The best thing for H&M is just to close down permanently all their stores in SA and just leave.
— Vusi Pikoli (@VusiPikoli) 14 January 2018
The party's commander in chief, Julius Malema says they won't apologize for their actions.
"No one should make jokes about the dignity of black people and be left unattended to," he was quoted as saying by eNCA. "We make no apology about what the fighters did today against H&M. All over South Africa, H&M stores are closed because they called our children baboons. So we are teaching them a lesson, if they don't know what a monkey is, then today they know what it is. We are not going to allow anyone to use the colour skin to humiliate us and to exclude us. We are black, we are proud, we are black and we are beautiful."