One of South Africa’s most celebrated broadcasters Darren Scott has resigned from Jacaranda, 94.2 FM. The Just Plain Breakfast host tendered his resignation yesterday following a racial slur at a station event at the weekend. In an interview with 702’s John Robbie this morning, Scott described the events that unfolded at the weekend.
After a team building workshop, which involved alcohol, Darren dropped the terrible k-word. He told Robbie that he was embarrassed for using the word and that he’d apologised to the person in question. Newspaper Beeld ran an article on this issue and according to Darren, the journalist only printed one side of the story and not his. As you can imagine this has become a trending topic on Twitter with loads of mixed reactions to the issue.
For me, I’m saddened by an incident like this. Darren Scott is one of the best broadcasters in this country. In addition to his work on radio, which I’ve respected for a very long time, he has been a key player in taking SuperSport‘s rugby content to world class standards. What he and his fellow colleagues have achieved to date is quite remarkable and that has set the bar really high. Having said all of that, there is no place for racial slurs like that in our country. South Africa is so racially sensitive and for him to say something like this really sets us back a lot. This comes as the IRB Rugby World Cup is set to kick-off tomorrow. All the hard work to get the nation, (Black, White, Indian, Coloured) all united and ready to support the Springboks seems to have been sidelined now by an incident like this. I do no condone behavior like this but there needs to be consistency. There have been several others issues with several other parties this year and we’ve forgiven them. How do we proceed from here? Is it time we start talking about the elephant in the room? Racism clearly is still rife in South Africa, maybe as responsible citizens it’s time to discuss this matter head on now.
Read Darren’s response to Beed’s article and his account of what ensued below:
7 September 2011
Mr Scott’s comment on this story is that it is misleading and sensationalist. It is directly inaccurate in that it gets facts wrong and it is indirectly inaccurate in that it leaves out a lot of important facts necessary to see it in context. Once those facts are known it emerges that Mr Scott has been generous and patient to a fault. The story is not deserving of the attention of the readership of a national newspaper.
As the story has been rushed into publication without Mr Scott having been given a fair or reasonable opportunity to put his side of events, he now does so.
Over a number of years Mr Scott made personal loans to the male (not female) colleague that he had the altercation with at Mabula Lodge. The last loan that Mr Scott made to this colleague was in an amount of R3000.00. The colleague made no attempt to repay this or any of the other amounts that Mr Scott had earlier lent him. The colleague subsequently bought a car and a house but ignored his obligation to repay the loans. This resulted in the relationship deteriorating and Mr Scott avoided contact with the colleague as far as possible.
The incident in question occurred after a work function at Mabula. A few people gathered in the bar and drink was consumed. The colleague who had borrowed the money from Mr Scott joined Mr Scott’s group at the bar. Mr Scott told him that people who didn’t pay their debts were not welcome. In a group consisting of what Mr Scott believed were only company employees he told the colleague in strong language to go away. The colleague did so, but later returned – at the urging of another person. Mr Scott saw this as provocative and used strong language to tell the colleague to go away. In doing so he used a racial epithet.
When everyone had gone back to work in Pretoria the following week the incident was taken up by the human resources department. Mr Scott and the colleague in question, whom Mr Scott does not want to name for fear of embarrassing him further, met with the human resources manager. Mr Scott apologized to the colleague for his conduct and for the offensive language that he had wrongly used. The colleague accepted the apology and in turn apologized for not paying Mr Scott back or making any effort to do so. The colleague was emotional and said that he felt bad because it had been the loans which Mr Scott had made to him that had helped him buy his home. The incident was closed on this basis and no further investigation would seem to be necessary. The colleague did not want to take the complaint further as he had received an apology and had himself in turn apologized for his part in this personal dispute that was now resolved.
Mr Scott will be engaged in presenting the Rugby World Cup for a number of weeks and in anticipation of this heavy workload had taken this week off from the breakfast show to rest. He has not been suspended.
The other incident referred to in the Beeld story regarding Mr Scott getting angry with a soundman happened a number of years ago and the soundman in question has left the station. The manner in which Beeld refers to the “soundman” conveys the impression that this was another incident in which race came up, but that is untrue. The soundman is white. Mr Scott lost patience with him and that was all.
Last night Mr Scott was about to present the Achievers award at the CSIR when he was contacted by the Beeld regarding this story. Due to his commitment as presenter he could not give Beeld his side of events until later. Despite a request from Mr Scott’s attorney to Beeld for a little time to set out his side, Beeld refused and went to print.
Mr Scott is a professional broadcaster with high standards who works in a high-pressure industry with the eyes and ears of the nation literally on him for long periods. He regrets that the incident at Mabula took place and has conveyed his apologies to his colleague.
After the air was cleared Mr Scott feels that he and his colleague are likely to have a better working relationship. Mr Scott notes that both parties have learned from the experience and he believes that the team at 94.2 will be the stronger for the mature and effective way that the incident was handled by the station’s human resource management.
See following for Beeld Article
Darren Scott, aanbieder van Jacaranda 94.2 se Just Plain Breakfast-program, is in die pekel oor beweerde rassistiese uitlatings by die radiostasie se jaarlikse spanbou-byeenkoms.
Scott het glo Vrydag laataand in ’n kroeg by Mabula Lodge by Bela-Bela (Warmbad) rassistiese opmerkings teenoor ’n vroulike kollega gemaak. Hy het glo gevloek en geskree, het twee onafhanklike ooggetuies vertel.
Jacaranda 94.2 het sy jaarlikse spanbou daar gehou.
Me. Jenny Griesel, woordvoerder vir die radiostasie, het bevestig dat ’n saak van wangedrag teen Scott ondersoek word.
“Jacaranda 94.2 is daarvan bewus dat ’n klag teen Darren Scott aanhangig gemaak is,” het sy in ’n verklaring gesê.
Griesel wou nie uitwei oor die aard van die klag nie en kon nie sê wanneer die ondersoek voltooi sal word nie.
Scott saai nie vandeesweek uit nie, maar volgens Griesel het die stasie vooraf onderhandel om hom ’n week kans te gee om voor te berei vir die Rugbywêreldbeker-uitsendings. 6
“Hy is dus nie van die lug af omdat hy geskors is nie.”
Volgens Griesel sal die stasiebestuur besluit of Scott volgende week weer mag uitsaai as die ondersoek langer as ’n week duur.
Hy is glo voorheen ook op die vingers getik omdat hy op ’n medewerker geskel en geskree het.
Volgens ’n derde onafhanklike bron, ’n voormalige kollega van Scott wat ook onder dié se tong deurgeloop het, is hy sowat ’n jaar gelede met etlike duisende rande beboet en vir ’n tyd geskors ná wangedrag teenoor ’n klankman.
Griesel kon dié voorval teen druktyd nie bevestig of ontken nie.
Scott het nie gister op navrae gereageer nie.