Bell Pottinger: Content was racially divisive and offensive

An independent investigation into UK PR firm Bell Pottinger has found the agency breached ethical principles in work done for the Gupta-owned Oakbay. The findings were released earlier today.

EWN Reporter Ilze-Mari le Roux says that Herbert Smith Freehills, the law firm investigating Bell Pottinger, worked through 45 000 documents and interviewed a significant number of witnesses to get to the bottom of this issue.

Read: Bell Pottinger found guilty of breaching UK's PR code of conduct - reports

One of the main findings was that management was misled in the handling the Oakbay account. This lead to racially divisive content being put out by the firm.

The report released by Herbert Smith Freehills shows that initially, Bell Pottinger handled the Oakbay account by focusing on corporate communication. In September 2016 they shifted focus onto what they call the economic emancipation campaign.

The law firm was very straight forward when they said that taking on such a campaign is not necessarily a breach of a code of ethics per say, but they found that some of the content that was used in those campaigns - that is where the problem come in.

Ilze-Mari le Roux, EWN Reporter

Some of the content was potentially racially divisive and offensive. That's what breached the ethical principal.

Ilze-Mari le Roux, EWN Reporter

In addition to this, Ilze-Mari le Roux says the report mentions that management should have known when you take on such a campaign you should handle it with care. The firm found that this was not done, says Le Roux.

The report echoes the statement put out by Bell Pottinger's former CEO James Henderson who says they were misled. Herderson stepped down as CEO.

The senior management were apparently misled by the people working on the campaign. But what they highlighted was that there were a number of opportunities for senior management to have picked up on it and they should have rectified it.

Ilze-Mari le Roux, EWN Reporter

Another revelation in the report shows that those working on the Oakbay campaign took steps to mislead and undermine journalists who were questioning and investigating the campaign.

According to Le Roux, Bell Pottinger stated when the company released the report, that the handling of this account is not representative of how it works, and it views this as a lesson to ensure it never happens again.

Listen to the full report below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Bell Pottinger: Content was racially divisive and offensive


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
UK firm plans to implant microchip in workers

UK firm plans to implant microchip in workers

A tiny chip, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, would enable employees to have access to their place of work.

Barbara Hogan reveals how Jacob Zuma took away her executive powers as minister

Barbara Hogan reveals how Jacob Zuma took away her executive powers as minister

Barbara Hogan continued giving her testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

‘Bell Pottinger is losing contracts. And I don’t just mean in South Africa'

‘Bell Pottinger is losing contracts. And I don’t just mean in South Africa'

Clement Manyathela interviews UK correspondent Gavin Grey.

Bell Pottinger found guilty of breaching UK's PR code of conduct - reports

Bell Pottinger found guilty of breaching UK's PR code of conduct - reports

According to reports by PRWeek, Bell Pottinger has been found guilty of breaking a professional code while working for the Guptas.

Clients dump Bell Pottinger amidst claims of unethical behaviour

Clients dump Bell Pottinger amidst claims of unethical behaviour

Meanwhile, the hearing held by the PR companies regulatory body PRCA is underway looking into the conduct of Bell Pottinger.

Guptas deny Bell Pottinger links in exclusive BBC interview

Guptas deny Bell Pottinger links in exclusive BBC interview

The family spoke via their spokesperson, Gary Naidoo who claims the Gupta's were not involved in pushing the 'WMC' narrative.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach withdraws her candidacy for NDPP post

[LISTEN] DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach withdraws her candidacy for NDPP post

Breytenbach was one of 12 candidates shortlisted for the position.

SA is falling in love with Telkom Mobile (6.5m users, 50% up on 6 months ago)

SA is falling in love with Telkom Mobile (6.5m users, 50% up on 6 months ago)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Telkom Group CEO Sipho Maseko.

Self-driving Merc returns to Chapman’s Peak to beat the bends in stirring new ad

Self-driving Merc returns to Chapman’s Peak to beat the bends in stirring new ad

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews branding and advertising expert Andy Rice about Merc's stirring new ad.

'If you close down informal enterprises you are going to double unemployment'

'If you close down informal enterprises you are going to double unemployment'

Philip Harrison from Wits University discusses City bylaws and their impact on citizens.

Former state security boss Mo Shaik on why minister is revetting spies

Former state security boss Mo Shaik on why minister is revetting spies

State Security Minister, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, has announced that all agents and staff of SSA will be re-vetted.

'I don’t spend much. I drive an old car. I’ve never been in debt'

'I don’t spend much. I drive an old car. I’ve never been in debt'

Bruce Whitfield interviews analyst Chris Gilmour about his attitude toward money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

[LISTEN] Steinhoff explained: 100 times more looted in Steinhoff saga than VBS

[LISTEN] Steinhoff explained: 100 times more looted in Steinhoff saga than VBS

Steinhoff’s Web of Deception: An Explainer with Financial Mail journalist Warren Thompson.