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All H&M stores in South Africa have temporarily closed following a series of vandalism attacks in response to the uproar over a widely-criticized, racist ad published by the popular retailer earlier in the week.
Protestors from the Economic Freedom Fighters of South Africa targeted at least six stores in the Johannesburg area over the weekend, storming each location in groups to do everything from dismantle displays, to knock over mannequins, to send racks of clothing crashing to the floor. Video clips of the protests began circulating across social media shortly afterward and were met with mixed reactions.
According to CNN Money, H&M South Africa responded to the protests in a statement on Saturday, confirming their knowledge of the “recent events” in their local stores and revealing that they have “temporarily closed” all stores in the country.
“None of our staff or customers have been injured,” the statement continued. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will open the stores as soon as the situation is safe again.”
There are reportedly 17 H&M stories in South Africa currently.
The backlash against the company began the week of January 8, after a racist ad featuring a Black child wearing a hoodie bearing the words, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle,” sparked widespread outrage from celebrities, activists and the general public.
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