Primedia apologises for Radio 702’s tweet comparing black babies to dogs

Radio 702 racist tweet

Primedia CEO Omar Essack has apologised for a tweet published on Radio 702’s Twitter account that compared two black babies to dogs.

In the tweet, the account asked its followers which was was cuter, babies or dogs.

“Go ahead and evoke those broody feelings,” it wrote, promoting the Walk the Talk event that saw nearly 50 000 people walk for various causes.

Essack said that the team was trying to draw people to the event with a reminder of the cuteness that awaited them, but that they had severely missed the mark.

Radio 702: ‘We offended South Africans and are sorry’

“In this country, we have a history where black people have been objectified over centuries and that is wrong,” Essack told 702 host Xolani Gwala on air this morning.

“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.”

He said that Primedia would be sitting down with the writer of the tweet to suss out whether it came from a place of naivety or racism. The latter, he said, would not be tolerated.

The tweet went viral Sunday, and was deleted without apology — angering South Africans on Twitter.

Some believed the tweet was innocent, using examples of when white babies had been compared to puppies in the past.

But others thought that the tweet was clumsy at best.

Not one to keep her nose out of South African controversies, Helen Zille also replied to the tweet with her own image.

Radio 702 later issued a statement on its website apologizing “unreservedly for an offensive tweet published today”.

“You have every right to be angry and offended. We strive to uphold the highest standards in our communication with you. Our mission is to communicate in a manner that builds social cohesion and a sense of community. In this instance we failed.”

“We offended South Africans and are sorry. This does not meet the standards that we expect from ourselves,” it concludes.

Omar Essack’s full apology can be heard here.



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