Clicks CEO issues open letter

The group Chief Executive Officer of Clicks, Vikesh Ramsunder has issued an open letter to the public after the company received backlash from the public following a hair advert.

The advert had pictures of African hair described as dry, dull and damaged compared to a white woman’s hair which was labelled fine and flat. This caused an uproar on social media with many weighing in on the matter. About 400 Click stores 400 countrywide were forced to close on Monday and some damaged including the one in eMalahleni.

On Monday, the company issued an apology which was rejected by many and later an open letter.

THE LETTER READS AS FOLLOWS:

As Group CEO of Clicks, I am deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website. I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and anger these images have caused.

The emotive responses of our customers have been mirrored by our employees and management teams. And, whilst the images and content were provided to us by our supplier Tresemme, this does not absolve us from blame. This is why we took accountability for this error of judgment by issuing a public apology and swiftly removing the offensive material from our website.

Over the past weekend, we have convened an extraordinary Board meeting to agree our next steps. This includes prioritising our diversity and inclusion training programme. We will be re-looking at its content, extend it wider and implement with more urgency and focus.

Clicks offers product ranges for all hair types, including building the natural hair market over the past three years to offer even more choice. We have worked with an extensive list of suppliers – more than 20 – to ensure that we stock more than 40 natural hair care ranges in our stores.

As a company, we cannot change what happened, but we are learning from this. We are committed to effecting real, systemic change across our business that reflects our pride in being a truly South African company. We have done a lot in terms of transformation. This issue has clearly highlighted that we have a lot more to do.

We appeal to all stakeholders to engage with us so that we redress actions to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We will take the necessary precautionary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers and our employees. This includes dealing with the threat of the disruption of our business activities and intimidation of our customers and employees.

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