by Thinus Ferreira
Somizi Mhlongo is out of his seat as Idols judge on MultiChoice and M-Net's reality show on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) for now, following serious allegations of violent physical abuse, with the pay-TV operator that on Friday said the socialite will "take some time off".
Since episodes are pre-recorded by the [SIC] Entertainment production company, DStv subscribers will still see Somizi Mhlongo until 22 August after which he will be no longer feature in further episodes of the 17th season of Idols for the time being.
In urgent crisis talks, M-Net, [SIC] Entertainment, MultiChoice and Somizi Mhlongo quickly came to the conclusion this week that it's time for him to step away - at least temporarily. He also lost his timeslot at the SABC's Metro FM radio station earlier this week.
"M-Net and Somizi Mhlongo met to discuss his role on Idols as one of the judges in light of the allegations made against him," MultiChoice said in a terse statement on Friday morning.
"We have reached a mutual agreement that Somizi Mhlongo will take some time off to deal with his personal circumstances until this matter has been resolved."
"Viewers will still see Somizi Mhlongo on their screens until Sunday 22 August 2021, as the audition shows for Idols were pre-recorded."
It's not yet known how Mzansi Magic will inform DStv subscribers watching this coming Sunday's episode about Somizi's exit - a voiceover or on-screen flashcard might possibly be added to the pre-recorded episode.
Effectively leaving Idols, shortly after exiting his gig as a presenter on Metro FM earlier this week, Somizi Mhlongo is once again swirling in controversy following allegations of violent physical abuse.
The scandal-riddled star is once again in the tabloid headlines for all the wrong reasons, following leaked BarLeaderTV production recordings from his now-estranged lover, Mohale Motaung.
By proxy, the now-toxic Somisi Mhlongo has become a liability for the brands of Metro FM, MultiChoice, Mzansi Magic and Idols that don't want to be associated with the socialite's torrid abuse claims and that have their own corporate brand reputations to protect.
Both the SABC and MultiChoice in statements earlier this week said they regard the allegations of violent physical abuse as serious, and pertinently said that as companies they do not condone any acts of abuse and violence.
Mohale Motaung claims that Somizi Mhlongo broke his ribs and almost knocked out teeth in a violent physical abuse incident in 2020; allegedly threatened Mohale with a kitchen knife, saying he would kill them both; and allegedly even tried to drive him off the road after an Idols afterparty.
Mohale Motaung and Somizi Mhlongo's tempestuous relationship has been marred by persistent rumours of infidelity and breakup ever since their over-the-top and tacky reality TV wedding series, Somizi & Mohale: The Union that was filmed for MultiChoice's Showmax video streamer in 2020.
Somizi Mhlongo and MultiChoice are also mired in drama over allegations that he allegedly stole and plagiarised the idea for the Dinner at Somizi's TV series from another creative, Hastings Moeng.
Mohale Motaung has not responded with any public statement by the time of publishing over the violent physical abuse claims.
Somizi Mhlongo in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Friday morning, said "You all have experienced part of our relationship by virtue of my reality show, our wedding special on TV and our social media platform".
"Now you are now audience to what has sadly become a breakup between two people laced by defamation, false but very serious accusations and interference from supposedly close and reliable sources".
He says "I have never been physically or knowingly abusive towards my estranged husband. I vehemently deny the allegations of criminal acts towards him and would like to clear my name of the defamation".
Somizi Mhlongo said "I am taking what was said on record by my estranged husband very seriously and my legal team is taking steps to address those allegations through the processes afforded to us by the law".
In January the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) slammed Somizi Mhlongo in a strongly-worded statement over his insults levelled against journalists.
Somizi attacked journalists after reports about his alleged infidelity and crumbling relationship and a legal battle over the canned Dinner at Somizi's TV show, after he was approached for comment but declined to comment.
SANEF said that Somizi's "actions have aggravated what is already a hostile working environment, especially for women journalists. This is a direct attack on media freedom in the country. Worldwide similar attacks are being meted out on journalists with the intent to silence their voices, especially that of women and the stories they tell."
"SANEF calls on Somizi Mhlongo to unreservedly apologise to these journalists and the public on all his social platforms for his unbecoming behaviour. He must call on his followers to stop harassing and intimidating them. Further, we call on the journalists to lay charges of intimidation and for MultiChoice to officially distance themselves from Mhlongo's comments."
UPDATE Sunday 8 August 2021 17:30pm - On Sunday, Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) decided not to tell Idols viewers watching that Somizi Mhlongo will no longer be seen on the reality show for the time being, and just flashed at on-screen notification, telling DStv subscribers that "Please note that this episode is pre-recorded".
Mzanzi Magic was asked earlier this week how exactly it would tell viewers watching that Somizi Mhlongo is no longer going to be seen on Idols since the episode is pre-recorded but Mzansi Magic didn't get back with any answer on how it would be telling viewers this during the episode, for instance in an added voice-over or with a flash card.
ALSO READ: Somizi Mhlongo out at SABC's Metro FM after serious allegations of violent physical abuse, Idols role on M-Net's Mzansi Magic in jeopardy.