Nike has reportedly shut down several of their stores in South Africa, including two at a mall in Johannesburg’s Sandton district, after a racist video made by the husband of an employee went viral on social media.
In the video, a white man identified as Adam Catzavelos, the husband of a Nike merchandising director, is seen walking around the beach saying, “Blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea and not one kaffir in sight.” Known as the “K-Word” in the region, the phrase is a deeply offensive, apartheid-era slur used to refer to a black person.
According to The Independent, the discovery of Catzavelos’ wife’s identity led to a movement by some to boycott Nike, with members of the far-left political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stating that they wanted to file a criminal complaint against Catzavelos due to his actions. As a result, some Nike stores in the country have been closed, according to Reuters.
In a statement provided to Times Live, Nike has confirmed that Catzavelos is not an employee of the company and stressed the brand’s inclusive ethos. “Nike opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect,” the statement reads. “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 been dismissed from his family’s business, St George’s Fine Foods, and is having his minority shareholding unwound.