We made a huge, grievous error - Primedia Broadcasting CEO Omar Essack

On Sunday, 702's Twitter account posted a tweet that compared two black children with two dogs, saying: "Aaaaw! Dog vs Baby... Who is cuter? Go ahead and evoke those broody feelings.

The tweet was part of social media posts for MTN Walk the Talk with 702.

The tweet has since been deleted, but Xolani Gwala wanted a better apology for posting it in the first place. Gwala says that he has been trying to understand what the tweet was trying to convey, but he can't make "head or tail of it".

Gwala referred to the tweet as despicable and demanded a proper explanation and apology from Primedia management.

Take a listen to his thoughts:

Following this, Primedia Broadcasting CEO, Omar Essack, went on air with Gwala to address the controversial tweet to apologise unreservedly.

Essack questioned if the tweet was based on racism or ignorance.

Essack said after speaking to the team responsible, the idea behind it was to post pictures of cute kids and pets at the event, because of their appeal.

In trying to be clever the tweet conflated the two, trying to be smart and clever without thinking about the implications.

In this country, we have a history where black people have been objectified over centuries and that is wrong. So when we go about putting out a tweet, in a way we did yesterday, there really is no other way to look at it, but say we were wrong.

Omar Essack, Primedia Broadcasting CEO

Essack described 702 as a microcosm of our society, with people from all walks of life working in the organisation. He said this means that people view things differently, but with western culture dominating, certain views and cultural opinions may be suppressed.

For Essack this incident has brought up some important lessons for the organisation - the biggest of which is respect.

What's important is respect between each other, a sensitively and a willingness to learn about each other. And in the macrocosm of South Africa we are still not there.

Omar Essack, Primedia Broadcasting CEO

The action that Primedia Broadcasting management are taking regarding the tweet is to sit down with the person responsible for it and determine whether the tweet came from a place of naivety or racism, Essack said.

He added that Primedia Broadcasting is not a place for racists. If incidents of blatant racism are found within the organisation, this will not be tolerated.

Essack acknowledged that the tweet was a grievous error and apologised on behalf of Primedia Broadcasting.

Listen to the full apology:


This article first appeared on 702 : We made a huge, grievous error - Primedia Broadcasting CEO Omar Essack


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