by MarkLives (@marklives) A planned Woolworths in-store display has gone terribly wrong for the retailer after consumers complained yesterday, Monday 16 November, that it appeared as if the black mannequins were tied together in a representation of slavery.

Screengrab of Woolworths 'slave chain' on Facebook

I have a problem with the display of black dolls wearing your clothes with a rope on them in your stores,” wrote the consumer, who posted the photo on Woolworth’s Facebook wall. “This depicts slavery and such display of this in your shop suggests you promote such barbaric act against humanity. please remove this rope on these black dolls with immediate effect. This is insulting us as black customers and anyone who is a victim of slavery. I have attached this picture here for you to see.Social media users soon spread the image and expressed outrage.”

Woolworths responded within an hour, writing: “Our store installation team have just got back to us, the ropes are supposed to support Christmas baubles and have been used incorrectly. We’re going to rectify the problem as fast as we can. We’re so sorry this caused any distress. Thanks so much for bringing the problem to our attention, we really appreciate it.

The apology and explanation weren’t enough for many social media users:

Others decided that no national retailer would intentionally embrace slavery as a Christmas display theme and accepted the retailer’s explanation that it was a terrible mistake:

Others were simply relieved to find what humour they could in the situation:

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