Under-fire The Body Shop blames staff for ‘unsanctioned’ racist hiring ad

By Zurairi AR

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The local franchise of British cosmetics and toiletries brand The Body Shop confirmed today a photo of one of its stores hiring exclusively ethnic Chinese candidates.

Following criticism by some Malaysians online, the company has since apologised, claiming it was an “unsanctioned act” and that it disapproved of the decision.

“This was an unsanctioned act by one of our store staff that we disapprove of completely. We are so sorry for the hurt this has caused,” the brand said in on its official Twitter account @TheBodyShop_MY.

The matter was first highlighted on Facebook by a user Kishaniah Dhamodaran who posted a photo of the hiring advertisement on her personal profile yesterday, labelling it a discriminatory practice.

Replying to Malay Mail Online’s inquiry, The Body Shop Malaysia said it is currently investigating the matter and will take immediate action against the employee, although it did not elaborate on said action.

It also quoted its initial response in the customer’s comment section of its Facebook page, explaining that it does not condone such actions by any of its colleagues.

The Body Shop Malaysia said as an international company and a brand, it has campaigned against discrimination of any kind in Malaysia for more than 30 years.

“We should never, and have never practised racial selection in our human resources policy. To us, aptitude and experience, as well as skills and competences such as language skills, are more important,” it said.

“It is indeed a constant uphill task to change mindsets and continue nurturing the culture of inclusiveness which we have so painstakingly built over the years, even as we continue to grow The Body Shop family in Malaysia. But we will never give up even if mistakes like this do happen!”

The Body Shop describes itself on its website as a “global manufacturer and retailer of naturally inspired, ethically produced beauty and cosmetics products”.

It was founded in the United Kingdom by Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, and has now over 2,500 stores in 61 countries, with a range of over 1,200 products.

In Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, the franchise is held by Rampai-Niaga Sdn Bhd with over 74 stores locally since its first one in December 1984.