Nike reportedly closed several of its South African stores after a video depicting an employee’s husband using a racial slur went viral.
The video was taken at a beach resort by Adam Catzavelos, who is reportedly married to Nike Africa brand merchandising director Kelly Catzavelos. In the clip, Catzavelos, who is a white man says, “Blue skies, beautiful bay, amazing sea, and not a k***** in sight,” using an offensive apartheid-era slang term.
According to Bloomberg News, two Nike stores in Johannesburg, as well as others within South Africa, were shuttered following circulation of the video.
Although the brand did not confirm the closings or elaborate on why its doors may have shuttered temporarily, a spokesperson for Nike told FN in an email exchange today that all of its stores in South Africa are back up and running.
As more and more people take to social media — and elsewhere — to call out issues of alleged racism and injustice, an increasing number of brands and retailers are being swept into the fold. In January, H&M found itself in hot water after posting an image of a black child wearing a hoodie that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” — spurring boycotts of the brands and protests at store locations. In July, Fanatics was sued by a black employee for racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, with the employee alleging that he had been called the n-word by a team supervisor
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And in 2017, Nike again came under fire for operating a Trump Tower location. At the time, protesters urged the brand to close its digs, citing allegedly “racist, bigoted and misogynist” behavior on the part of President Donald Trump. A petition urging the brand not to renew its contract for the space received more than 30,000 signatures, and Nike ultimately let its lease expire.
Although Nike did not elaborate on its decision to close South African locations, it may have been a tactic to prevent store protests — which happened at H&M South African locations after the offending photo went viral.