Thursday, December 3, 2015

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle: Our exploitation TV was wrong; says 'serious internal review' for staff is coming after Mzansi Magic's Our Perfect Wedding shocker.

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle is apologising for the pay-TV broadcaster's exploitation TV saying it's wrong, that M-Net's communication after the Our Perfect Wedding scandal that has engulfed its Mzansi Magic channel was wrong, and that a serious internal review is coming to train and ensure that M-Net staff knows what is not acceptable to broadcast.

Viewers were shocked and outraged after Sunday's episode of Our Perfect Wedding on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) in which a man brazenly talked about how as a 28-year old taxi driver he targeted and raped school children, preyed on young girls and has to juggle fitting them into his schedule, and met the women he is now marrying when she was just 14.

The shocking entertainment show produced by Basetsana Kumalo's Connect TV and slammed as a "disgusting shame", instantly sparked massive viewer outrage.

Besides heavy criticism on social media platforms a petition was started to boycott the show and Mzansi Magic, led to complaints to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), and public condemnation by rape crisis experts over the way in which M-Net has been "romanticising rape culture" and glamourising rape culture as entertainment".

While the previous episode of Our Perfect Wedding with Absa as sponsor also got viewers hot under the collar, Mzansi Magic ironically broadcast the latest episode during the national 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse campaign. Absa which initially gleefully went along, immediately pulled its sponsorship.

Mzansi Magic initially failed to apologise or to answer any specific questions in a media enquiry. The channel only issued a tepid general statement that said that "our reality shows reflect our society as it is" and that Mzansi Magic supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is "committed to telling stories that impact our viewers and build communities".

On Tuesday M-Net finally said in a statement that the content "was offensive and wrong".

Meanwhile Basetsana Kumalo has strangely remained silent except for saying "I am engaging intensively with my team in regards to it"on social media through her Facebook page.

Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO is now saying "I'm incredibly concerned by what has happened". She is apologising for the error, M-Net's content control failure, the pay-TV broadcaster's bad communication and promising a stringent internal review and staff training.

She said the Our Perfect Wedding episode, which M-Net has since pulled out of all its repeat slots, should never have been broadcast.

"We take the issue extremely seriously," Yolisa Phahle told the public broadcaster's SAfm.

"Mzansi Magic is completely opposed to this kind of exploitation. Quite clearly our internal controls failed us and we are very sorry about that. We are taking action to ensure that this doesn't happen again," said Yolisa Phahle.

"Basically we are reviewing every part of the process. What needs to happen is increased training of our staff, increased awareness of what actually is right and what actually is wrong."

"It's very important that we as Mzansi Magic are able to deal with these matters appropriately. This show should never have been broadcast."

"As soon as we were made aware of what happened, without hesitation have apologised."

"Perhaps our communication was not as it should have been," Yolisa Phahle admitted.

"Initially we were trying to explain that the story that was told - which obviously is wrong - and that we did apologise and we don't condone it."

"I don't think we went far enough. I don't think we were initially clear enough that it was wrong and should not happen and that we were at fault."

"Our communication was wrong but we also said we do not condone that behaviour," said Yolisa Phahle.

"The communication was not as it should have been. This show should not have been broadcast and we apologise to viewers and we will support any initiative undertaken to ensure that this kind of behaviour is eradicated within our society."

"We're apologising for a programme which was quite clearly inappropriate. And we're apologising that that subject matter was not dealth with sensitively."

"We are sorry. I completely understand the reaction and the outrage is completely justified. Mzansi Magic cooperates with the BCCSA and we will cooperate with any official organisation that wants to talk to us about this."

"We will be following a stringent internal review of what had happened and making sure that our staff understand what is lawful behaviour, what is acceptable to be broadcast and what is not. We really are completely committed to raise awareness and to make people aware that this behaviour is not acceptable.," said Yolisa Phahle.

Basetsana Kumalo's Connect TV also produces Date My Family and the trashy reality show Diski Divas for Mzansi Magic.

Just a few months ago in May, that reality production was involved in a vicious fight between Kat Mohoadube and Wendy Parker who allegedly assaulted a pregnant Nonhle Ndala while cameras were filming.

Nonhle Ndala opened a case of assault and the two stars' Diski Divas contracts were cancelled.