Embed from Getty Images
 

H&M has closed several of their retail stores in South Africa after protesters trashed a store in response to their offensive “monkey” ad. [Read Also: Jesse Williams & G-Eazy Address H&M Controversy, Model’s Mom Says ‘Stop Crying Wolf…Get Over It’] Via NY Times:

The image touched off an uproar on social media this week, and on Saturday demonstrators representing South Africa’s second-largest opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters, gathered at H&M locations across the country.

Videos and photos of the gatherings showed people demonstrating outside or marching through a store. Others showed people toppling mannequins, overturning racks and scattering clothes.

“Out of concern for the safety of our employees and customers we have temporarily closed all stores in the area,” H&M said in an emailed statement on Saturday.

“None of our staff or customers have been injured,” the statement said. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will open the stores as soon as the situation is safe again. We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable. We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.”

Julius Malema, the party’s charismatic but controversial leader, who was once a member of the governing African National Congress, said in a speech on Saturday, “We make no apology about what the fighters did today against that store called H&M” and said targeting the stores was “just the beginning.”

“Every shop that undermines black people must be attended to,” he added. “It must be shut down. It must be closed.”

See video below.

H&M is learning a very tough lesson about responsible marketing. Whew!