By BO Staff Writer
The white owned radio station, Radio702 has become notorious for punting white monopoly capital sponsored, right-wing views. But, social media users were shocked on Sunday when the station released a tweet comparing black babies to dogs while promoting a charity walk with the cellphone network with skyhigh data prices, MTN!
As if that was not enough, it has now emerged that the station tried to cover-up the racism and silence black staffers who were uncomfortable with the tweet.
Screengrabs of a Radio702 producers WhatsApp group show a frenzied conversation between the employees, with white producers defending and covering up the racism and black ones showing frustration at such incidents.
One producer alerts the group that, “XG [Xolani Gwala] says he is receiving a lot of messages from people asking him about the tweet.” The person goes on to ask how Gwala and other hosts should deal with the situation.
A white senior employee, Alastair Teeling-Smith, whose LinkedIn account says he is the Programme Manager at 702, responds by saying the conversation should be covered-up and should not be discussed on air, with hopes that the situation will blow over.
“We would prefer not to take the discussion to air,” Teeling-Smith says. In a dismissive tone, he then says “if it comes to air, make mention that 702 has apologized.”
Teeling-Smith then posts 702’s halfbaked apology on the group. Seeing that the owners and senior decision makers at 702 are old white men, it is no wonder why the station is one of the stations which promote racism and frowns upon radical economic transformation.
On the WhatsApp group, it seems an employee is gatvol with constantly defending 702’s racism. The person named ‘Comfort’ complains, “Guys this is not on… as a producer I’m really tired of defending 702 when it comes to such.”
‘Comfort’ goes on to name fellow colleagues who post “insensitive stuff like this with intents clearly for clicks”. Cecile Nel, a producer on The Money Show (a business show purely dedicated to promoting companies in the JSE and maintaining a capitalist status quo) then shuts down the conversation saying, “perhaps something to take offline with management where Kabous can defend himself.”
Being black, woke, and working for a white owned media house:
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a black former Radio702 producer exclusively told Black Opinion that working for the radio station was toxic and taxing. As a black conscious person, the former producer says they had to compromise on their values in order to fit in to the company’s racist agenda in order to keep their job.
The ex-producer corroborated ‘Comfort’s’ accusation, saying that “as a producer you had to make magic and write up a story even when someone like Xolani (Gwala) says something insignificant, as long as it will get the website clicks.”
They noted that they worked under such conditions where they sometimes had to write and release stories devoid of context just to generate controversy and get clicks, and when things went wrong, black junior employees would always be the first to be thrown under the bus.
“A group of us black producers used to complain sometimes but nothing ever happened about the racism in the company,” the ex-producer said.