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South Africa

Nike closes stores in South Africa following outcry over racist post

A man gives a photo-friendly reaction as he finds a Nike store closed in Cape Town, South Africa, August 22, 2018.

MIKE HUTCHINGS

REUTERS

Several stores were closed after outcry over a racist comment made by a man that local media claims had links to the sportswear company.

Some Nike stores in South Africa were closed on Wednesday following the online circulation of a video containing racist remarks, allegedly made by a man that local media claims had links to the sportswear company.

The video depicts a white man with a clear South African accent describing a beach in South Africa as ‘heaven on earth’ as there was ‘not one kaffir in sight.’

The word ‘kaffir’ is an apartheid-era slang for a black person and is regarded as highly offensive.

South African newspapers claim the protagonist of the video is Adam Catzavelos, husband of Nike’s merchandising director Kelly Catzavelos.

News agency Reuters said it was unable to independently verify the person’s identity.

Public outcry

The video has gone viral in South Africa, sparking outrage among social media users.

South Africa’s Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the racist video is ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and calls for it to be reported to the police.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s hard-left nationalist party, claimed it would file a criminal complaint against the man in the video, while the opposition Democratic Alliance party said in a statement that ‘those who spouse [sic] his views have no place in a united South Africa.’

Nike, which declined to comment on the store closures, is believed to have shut shops for fear of retaliatory attacks.

The sportswear company issued a statement reiterating its ‘long-standing commitment to diversity and respect’ adding that the man seen in the video was not a company employee.

Earlier this year protesters led by the EFF trashed six H&M stores in South Africa, following an ad by the retail chain displaying a black child modeling a sweatshirt with the slogan ‘coolest monkey in the jungle.’

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