HRC to assess advertising sector’s standards after Clicks ad furore

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The Human Rights Commission says it wants to assess whether the advertising industry has transformed its standards in line with the constitution.

This follows a meeting between the commission and retail giant, Clicks, over a controversial online advert. The ad showed images of black women’s hair described as being frizzy, dry and damaged – and a white woman’s hair was described as fine, flat and normal.

The CEO of the Human Rights Commission, Tseliso Thipanyane, says they have resolved to convene an inquiry into the advertising industry.

“Due to these incidents, we did an inquiry in the 1990s on racism in the media and we made a number of recommendations, so for this to happen 25 years later shows that there is a need to see what is going on in the advertising industry. We want to assess to what extent the industry has reformed and transformed and what measures are being taken to ensure the standards are in line with those required by the constitution.”

Clicks slammed for a controversial ad about black women’s hair:  

Clicks later removed the images and posted an apology, but anger continued to swell over the advert.


The health and beauty company also said that it will award scholarships to five black female students in 2021.

In a joint statement, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Tresemmé agreed that the EFF will work with the police to ensure that all those involved in the vandalism of Clicks stores are arrested.

Unilever to withdraw Tresemmé SA products

Unilever said earlier on Thursday that it will withdraw all Tresemmé SA products from all retail stores for a period of 10 days as a demonstration of its remorse for the offensive and racist advert.

The company will also donate a minimum of 10 000 sanitary towels (pads) and sanitizers to informal settlements identified by the EFF.

According to a joint statement by EFF and Unilever, both parties could not find each other on the publishing of the names of people responsible for the racist images; with Unilever claiming that the director involved in the campaign has since left the company and the country.

The company made a commitment that following its internal investigations it will take the EFF and the country into confidence.

Unilever expressed its remorse once again to all South Africans, black women in particular. Both parties agreed that the matter is now put to rest.