THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In an unsavoury parting gift, former Idols judge Gareth Cliff slams M-Net in his new book, says he went to court to show he is 'unf**kwithable'.


In an unsavoury parting gift, the former Idols judge Gareth Cliff is slamming M-Net in his second book that will go on sale on Thursday, casting scorn on the pay-TV broadcaster who paid him to be a reality show judge, writing that he went to court to show he's "unf**kwithable".

M-Net fired Gareth Cliff earlier this year as an Idols judge from the 12th season after his social media response on Twitter in the racist Penny Sparrow debacle when he weighed in on the swirling controversy, saying "People really don't understand freedom of speech".

After that, saying he's damaging M-Net and "toxic" to the Idols and M-Net brands, the pay-TV broadcaster cut him loose from the show.

Gareth Cliff then went to court demanding to be let back on the show and won, with the court that ordered M-Net to reinstate him for the 12th season of Idols that concluded on Sunday night.

Gareth Cliff is now gone however from the 13th upcoming season in 2017, with insiders saying there's no love lost between M-Net and Gareth Cliff who also did a local TV talk show previously for the M-Net channel.

Gareth Cliff's second book, Cliffhanger: Confessions of a Shock Jock goes on sale on Thursday which he started writing long before the conclusion of the latest Idols season and in which he includes some choice words for Naspers and M-Net about his controversial Idols firing, court case and subsequent re-instatement on the show.

In an extract from the 215-page book Cliffhanger, published on Sunday on the day of the live Idols finale, Gareth Cliff doesn't have nice words for M-Net.

Several journalists from a broad section of media houses who attended Sunday's live Idols finale described the release of the extract on the same day as the Idols finale as "a distasteful move" and "deliberately detracting from what's supposed to be the show's high point that he himself is in and getting paid for".

At the Idols post-win press conference, TVwithThinus asked Nkateko Mabaso, the group general manager for M-Net South Africa, what M-Net and Idols make of Gareth Cliff's comments about M-Net and Idols in his new book, with Gareth Cliff's parting shot awkwardly coming on his last day as part of the show in which he pointedly also slammed the media in his last TV appearance for the "nonsense in the press".

Nkateko Mabaso said M-Net has no comment.

About the Idols brouhaha in Cliffhanger Gareth Cliff slams M-Net for allowing "a trial by Twitter before the matter was even heard in court" and how his lawyer, Dali Mpofu in the South Gauteng High Court "took shots at Naspers, the parent company of M-Net, chastising them at their cheek in asserting that I lacked empathy for the country when their own record was abominable".

While M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle called Gareth Cliff "toxic" to the M-Net and Idols brands in court papers, he writes in his book "I had interviewed Yolisa Phahle just a couple of months earlier, and I was sure that the ugly things said about me didn't necessarily come from her. She's actually a gracious lady".

About why he went to court to be reinstated on Idols when the show didn't want him, he writes that "It was about the important, free conversations our nation needs to have and that were stifled by the outrage of the Penny Sparrow debacle. And it was about showing the loudmouths on social media that I wouldn't be bullied, that I was 'unf**kwithable".

In his book Gareth Cliff says "what can and can't a white man say in South Africa in 2016? Some people will advise you to say as little as possible, like the big corporations who don't want to cause trouble with government or the loudmouths on social media. I say that's nonsense. If you're not free to say what you think, you're really not free, even if what you say is wrong".

Gareth Cliff who stated his online radio station CliffCentral in May 2014 and writes about being a new media entrepreneur, writes that he wants to live "in luxury and happiness and with as many options as I can exploit at any given time".

"Mine will not be a life of suffering or deprivation. There is no nobility in poverty. I want to make myself happy so that there is surplus happiness for everyone else".