JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nike Inc. temporarily closed South African stores after the husband of an employee was caught in a racism row over a video he posted while on vacation.
The sportswear giant’s decision comes eight months after Hennes & Mauritz AB shuttered outlets in the country following protests against an online ad that featured a black child modeling a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Race remains a highly sensitive issue in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
The sportswear giant took precaution after H&M stores were trashed in a similar incident.
Two Nike shops in a mall in Johannesburg’s Sandton financial district closed Tuesday and remain shut. While the company didn’t comment on the move, it released a statement saying the firm “opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect.”
In the online video that went viral this week, a white man expressed his appreciation for the beach he was visiting by commenting that there weren’t any black people to be seen — using a highly offensive racial slur. He was promptly fired from the food producer that is owned by his family, Eyewitness News reported, adding that his wife works for Nike.
Nike has stores in 11 locations in South Africa, according to the company’s website.
By John Bowker and Roxanne Henderson, with assistance from Janice Kew; editors: Anthony Palazzo, Antony Sguazzin and Gordon Bell.