M&G journalist suspended after anti-Semitic Facebook rant

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In another case of why employees need to watch what they say online, a journalism intern at the Mail & Guardian has been suspended for an anti-Semitic statement on Facebook, leading to a very public spat involving the publication’s editor.

The intern, Ngoako Matsha, in a Facebook conversation referred to fellow commenters as “racists”. The anti-Semitic comment in question read: “You racists! No wonder Hitler killed all the Jews, because you’re all a bunch of racists.”

The conversation in question began when Facebook user Benji Shulman asked his friends to help him with a “decent history of Apartheid”. Matsha responded with a definition of “petty Apartheid” and a conversation ensued about Middle-East politics, which later led to the inflammatory remark by Matsha.

The conversation quickly made its way to Twitter, and was soon brought to the attention of Mail & Guardian Editor, Nic Dawes. Dawes quickly responded:

This tweet was soon followed by another informing readers and followers of Dawes’ Twitter account that Matsha had been suspended.

Last year in an interview with Memeburn, Dawes commented on the Mail & Guardian’s lack of a social media policy and the need for one. He also commented on how journalists need to carefully manage their personal and professional personas on Twitter and other social networks.

“The remarks Ngoako made were completely unacceptable, and in my view go way beyond concerns of social media policy to the basic values of the M&G, the constitution, and human decency,” Dawes said to Memeburn.

Journalist have experienced the intense backfire from social media unprofessional outbursts. Last year ex CNN editor of Middle East affairs editor was fired after she tweeted about her personal feeling toward the death of controversial Hezbollah leader Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, calling him a “giant” that she “respects”.

*Memeburn correction — this copy has been updated to reflect that the journalist in question is in fact a journalism intern not a political reporter.

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  • http://twitter.com/spiffywon Christopher Lazley

    Great article. There’s no such thing as a personal conversation on a semi-public forum. Did Ngoako really think his comments would go unnoticed? That’s either ignorance or blatant stupidity. Gotta watch out!

  • http://twitter.com/spiffywon Christopher Lazley

    Great article. There’s no such thing as a personal conversation on a semi-public forum. Did Ngoako really think his comments would go unnoticed? That’s either ignorance or blatant stupidity. Gotta watch out!

  • Faye

    This story blows my mind. Something I would expect to see on the “damn you auto correct” site.

  • Ines

    The “journalist” in question was an intern. I fully support what Nic did and he sent out an email to the whole newsroom explaining his actions so we all knew what happened.

  • Awestruck

    Is there anything more patently racist than declaring an entire ethnic group to be “all racists”?

  • Nuala

    There is an interesting phenomena that as soon as you mention Hitler or the holocaust in a blog or conversation, the end of that conversation is nigh.  it would also appear that so would be this chaps potential career.

  • Thandomatiwan

    why when the truth is spoken about the jews the media must come to there assistance. the media will write racist articles about the ANC and show disrespect to other religous groups such as islam and christianity[ eg zapiro cartoon about jesus, then about muhammed ] and by the way zapiro is a jew. we as south africa must stand up for justice we dont live in apartheid any more. I take my hat out to Ngoako Matsha for his courage, you stood for the truth. There are so many racist comment made on facebook against black people that wont be published by the media.

  • Mark

    Because a “mention” quickly turns into hate speech and support for Nazi policies unfortunately. The Holocaust was a clear gross violation of human rights that almost wiped out a whole people, what’s there to debate? Seems to me some people are looking to justify Nazi motives or even seek to deny that it happened. Fortunately, the memories of tens of millions of people, American and European, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, who were alive at the time, will always remind us through voice and video recordings, despite the propaganda from both far left and right organisations, theocracies and the hateful individuals behind all of them.

  • Mark

    I think you should go back to school and read up on ‘The Holocaust’, ‘truth’ and ‘diversity’. A full investigation of the meaning of ‘racism’ would also be essential to your awakening as an intellectual being.

  • Mark

    “First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.” - Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) 

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