Cops monitoring H&M protests at Gauteng malls

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

The company has pulled the photograph but the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) - a radical group set up by the expelled head of the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress - organised protests at several H&M outlets in and around Johannesburg.

The wave of the mass store invasions, which had clearly been well organised in advance, began shortly after the stores opened for Saturday trading, with pictures and videos of the chaos lit up social media.

Innocent shoppers were forced to flee as activists swept through the stores, which included Africa's flagship H&M stores in the upmarket suburb of Sandton, Johannesburg.

Floyd Shivambu from EFF said: 'That @hm nonsense of a clothing store is now facing consequences for its racism.

Bernard Joseph, EFF Western Cape chairperson, said they were protesting against H&M, and were hoping to convince H&M management to refrain from portraying their children as monkeys coming from the jungle.

The image advertising the £7.99 jumper was removed from H&M's USA and United Kingdom websites shortly after the outrage broke and the retailer quickly issued a statement apologising to "anyone it may have offended".

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"We trust that H&M will listen to our demands", he said.

But Terry Mango, mother of the child model, five-year-old Liam, branded the backlash to the image "unnecessary" and urged critics, including global superstars, to "stop crying wolf" and "get over it". People have called the image racist and inappropriate.

H&M said despite the incident being "accidental in nature", it still took it seriously and understood the upset and discomfort it had caused.

H&M South Africa did not respond to a request for comment, but its local website carried an apology for the advertisement.

'Therefore, we've not only removed the image from our channels but also the garment from our product offering'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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