Nike Closes Down South African Stores after Racist Video goes Viral
Nike closed down several South African stores after a racist video made by the husband of an employee went viral.
In the video, the white male identified as Adam Catzavelos, can be seen on a beach in South Africa. As he walks around, he says, “Blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea and not one k*ffir insight”. Known as the “K-Word” in the region, the phrase is a deeply offensive. It is an apartheid-era slur which was used to refer and degrade a black person.
It was later discovered that Catzavelos is married to Kelly Catzavelos, a brand merchandise manager for Nike Africa. Catzavelos has been publicly shunned on social media since the release of the video. South African media have also confirmed the closing of several Nike stores, including two at a mall in Johannesburg’s Sandton district.
According to The Independent, the discovery of Catzavelos’ wife’s identity led to many Twitter users declaring that they wanted to boycott Nike. Members of the far-left political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stated that they wanted to file a criminal complaint against Catzavelos.
Earlier this year, protesters from the EFF carried out demonstrations against H&M stores in South Africa. This followed the backlash over a picture of a black child modelling a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
Nike has affirmed that Catzavelos was not a company employee. In a statement, they emphasized their “long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect,”.
“We believe in the power of human potential in everyone – of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.”
The Independent reports that Catzavelos has since been dismissed from his family’s business and is having his minority shareholdings unwound.