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Furore over Woolworths LGBTQIA+ campaign is a storm in a teacup

On Friday, the retail and food store launched the campaign on social media. Picture: Twitter/Woolworths

On Friday, the retail and food store launched the campaign on social media. Picture: Twitter/Woolworths

Published Jun 6, 2023


The debate around LGBTQIA+ issues will always draw sharp criticism, and this International Pride month is no different.

This time, retail brand Woolworths is facing “boycott” calls for its support of the LGBTQIA+ community with their latest Pride campaign.

On Friday, the retail and food store launched the campaign on social media, tweeting: “It’s International Pride Month! At Woolies, we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community year-round, and we’re continuously working to better serve our LGBTQIA+ people and customers.”

This obviously unleashed the ire of conservative South Africans, with some even feeling silenced because the brand’s Twitter account has blocked them.

In response to all the negative comments, Woolies tweeted: “A reminder that our community guidelines don’t allow for hate speech or discrimination. Our values are firmly in favour of kindness and inclusivity, and we do our best to actively moderate our comment section to reflect that.”

A Twitter post that could sum of this whole situation read: “We are at the start of Pride Month and already had to defend a corporation because South African bigots couldn't just scroll past.”

At some point one has to wonder if South Africans just like unnecessary drama because by the time July 1st comes, no one will even remember it.

Every time it’s the same tactics by those who try to claim moral superiority, when no such thing exists. No one is above reproach.

Baring in mind – this is not the first time local brands that have done Pride campaigns and likely won’t be the last.

Not one queer person who lives in South Africa is remotely surprised by the furore over this campaign.

In fact, it just causes an annoyance as no one wants to spend their time defending a business when they could do anything else.

Most intelligent people can discern that it’s a marketing ploy, albeit one with good intent, which generates profits for Woolies and gives them clout.

In 2023, it’s smart business.

Some people should learn that some times it can be good to be blissfully unaware.

If it doesn’t apply to you, you can just ignore it.

There are better things to do, and better ways to spend your time.

Those who want to support the campaign, will, and the world will keep spinning.

* Theolin Tembo is a digital producer for the Cape Argus

Cape Argus

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