The context behind the 702 tweet

Earlier today 702 apologised for a tweet that included a picture of black people in the context of a headline that stated: “5 dumbest things that people in their 20s do with their money”.

This tweet was one of four tweets that sought to build financial literacy awareness among our audience. Each tweet contained the same headline with a variety of images – a group of white men and women; a group of black men; three women of different races.

Over the past 14 months, Primedia has engaged its staff in ongoing diversity training to sensitise them to our country’s history and how its pain continues to be experienced in contemporary life. Our apology recognises that this tweet together with this image would have caused offence for some of our listeners. We will continue to engage with our staff and our listeners in building a recognition of the injustices of our past and our responsibility in addressing them in present-day South Africa.

The photograph in question is the one below

The others that were used are the following:

Speaking on the Afternoon Drive with Joanne Joseph, 702's station manager Thabisile Mbete says she is deeply embarrassed by the tweet.

In 2017, 702 received backlash over a tweet comparing black babies to dogs. Mbete explains some of the steps that were taken to address this - including diversity training.

This is not the first time we are faced with this. We went through a similar process with another tweet around Walk the talk. After the Walk the Talk tweet we went through a process as a business, Primedia Broadcasting, to take people through diversity training, explaining to people some of the racial sensitivities that people may not always be alive to.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

This has been an ongoing process. We also went through a process of reinvigorating our social media policies, taking people through what are the do's and don'ts.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

Asked what action will be taken against the individual responsible for the social media post, Mbete explains that it was a genuine mistake.

This is an individual who is part of the team. If we are saying we have gone through diversity training, we have spoken to people about this we then understand that this is a process.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

This was a genuine mistake, someone took a stock image and basically aligned it to that content piece. It should never have happened. We have in the past when we publish the same piece, published it with different stock images and those would consist of different types of people - young, black, white, female.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

In terms of what action we have taken. The easy way is to say fire him. The hard way is to say how do we walk the journey with this person going forward. How do we teach the person on an ongoing basis the history of South Africa, how sensitive some of the things that are going on are and not leave it at we are going to be punitive and fire this person.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

I know that we are not a racist organisation. I know that as a station we have evolved over the years. I think the thing about evolution is that it is complex, it is human beings and not machines. We have to keep talking to each other, educating each other.

Thabisile Mbete, 702 station manager

Click on the link below to hear more from Mbete....


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