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M-Net clarifies Gareth Cliff’s axing

M-Net's says it wasn’t so much Cliff’s tweet that saw him fired, but rather the public outrage it generated.

Media personality Gareth Cliff arrives at the High Court in Johannesburg for his court case against broadcaster M-Net on 26 January 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - M-Net says it fired Gareth Cliff as an Idols judge because his tweet on a racist post by Penny Sparrow created an overwhelming view that he is a poster child for racism.

The broadcaster says there was nothing unfair about its decision to part ways with the radio personality as he had not signed any contract that would include him in this year's Idols season.

Cliff has brought an urgent application to the High Court in Johannesburg to reinstate him on the show when it kicks off on Friday.

M-Net's lawyer, Wim Trengove, says it wasn't so much Cliff's tweet that saw him fired, but the public outrage it generated.

LISTEN: Update on Cliff's court batle with M-Net.

Shortly after Sparrow's racist "monkey" post on Facebook the radio personality tweeted that people don't understand free speech.

M-Net still denies that there was a contractual agreement with Cliff even though his lawyers have provided the court with email conversations with producers.

But Trengove says the emails only prove that a couple of aspects of his contract were agreed to and not the overall terms of his return to Idols.

Based on this, M-Net says there was nothing unfair or unlawful about its actions.

The broadcaster says Cliff offended and shocked its viewers, which threatened its brand.

M-NET: CLIFF RUINED HIS OWN REPUTATION

M-Net says Cliff has damaged his own reputation and that fixing it shouldn't be its burden.

The broadcaster told the court that it won't reinstate Cliff simply to repair his reputational damage.

Trengove says Cliff can't ask M-Net to reinstate him to restore his reputation when he destroyed it himself.

He says if it wasn't for Cliff's comment, all would be on track.

M-Net claims any backlash Cliff has suffered whether from Twitter users or politicians is a direct result of his tweet and not being fired.

The broadcaster also says he is not entitled to reinstatement because it is at liberty to decide who can be an Idols judge and for how long.

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