Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/@decolonisonsnous
This footage showing white people in blackface and dressed as a gorilla for an “Africa” themed party has caused viral outrage on social media and notched up millions of views.
The pair are reportedly staff members of Le Slip Francais – an upmarket French underwear brand sold by Selfridges in the UK.
The people in the video were identified as employees of the company by an eagle-eyed anti-racism organisation that reposted the video after it was shared on social media by one of the partygoers.
The anti-racism organisation ‘decolonisonsnous’ (which translates as ‘let’s decolonise ourselves’) shared the footage on social media where it is going viral and it has over 2 million views on their Twitter account alone.
The footage shows a white woman in blackface going to pick up some friends before the footage cuts to the party where the song “Saga Africa” can be heard playing in the background as a person dressed in a gorilla costume moves around the floor on all fours.
Saga Africa is a 1991 song by French tennis player turned singer Yannick Noah – who is black. It was the first single from his debut album Black & What.
The woman in blackface can be seen with what appears to be a glass of wine and laughing at the antics. The person dressed as a gorilla makes animal-like noises as the music blares.
Later, the woman in blackface appears to be dancing in what she apparently believes is a stereotypical African fashion while pursing her lips.
The camera also pans down to food on the table, which an image reveals was Mafe Chicken from Senegal, a West African speciality.
The video went viral and has caused widespread outrage all over France. Even the Secretary of Equality, Marlene Schiappa, condemned its racist nature, according to Le Parisien.
Even though it was not explicitly mentioned in the footage, Le Slip Francais issued a statement condemning the actions of its employees – reportedly two of the people at the party – and stating that disciplinary action had been taken, although they were not specific regarding what measures had been implemented.
The statement read: “We are shocked and we firmly condemn these acts.”
The statement added: “The employees involved have been summoned and sanctioned by the heads of the Slip Francais.”
The same day, the founder of the Slip Francais (‘French Pants’) company, Guillaume Gibault, confirmed that this was the case.
There have been calls to boycott the company’s products as the scandal sweeps the country. Netizens also mocked the company’s lack of transparency and detail regarding the supposed sanctions.
The employees are not thought to have been fired.
Netizens are outraged.
‘jerryxdaave’ commented: “Not even one week into 2020 and they are already behaving like imbeciles.”
‘domvinck’ said: “The level. I can’t believe it. This has to be a joke, it makes me want to throw up.”
And ‘inesi2b’ said: “The degree of contempt really makes me vomit !!!! Everything is there, the blackface, the outfit, the gorilla, the grimaces, and the absolutely unbearable sneers !!!! Three young adults in France today …. how is it still possible? Racism still has a bright future ahead of it!”
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.