M-Net implements zero tolerance policy against social media mishaps

The channel announced that TV personality Gareth Cliff would no longer be part of the SA Idols judges.

Gareth Cliff. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - M-NET said it's implemented a zero tolerance approach to social media mishaps, and has been in discussion with presenters about its online policy.

In a statement this morning, the channel announced that radio and TV personality, Gareth Cliff, would no longer be part of the SA Idols judging panel, following his twitter comments on the Penny Sparrow Saga.

M-Net announced that Gareth Cliff won't be part of the judging panel for #IdolsSA season 12 https://t.co/FWBKyetaNq pic.twitter.com/dBKTMXOoLa

M-Net thanked Cliff for the critical role he has played in seeking out and developing new talent over the years and for contributing to the success of the show to date.

Sparrow called black beachgoers at Durban's beaches, monkeys.

In a tweet, Cliff wrote that "people don't understand free speech at all".

He received criticism for the comment - with many labeling him a racist. He later apologised, saying he in no way condones racism and has a lot to learn.

But M-Net said Cliff will no longer be part of the show.

The company's CEO, Yolisa Phahle said, "We don't believe that Gareth is a racist but his response did show a lack of empathy for our history and it's important to differentiate between freedom of speech and hate speech.

Hate speech is not applicable with regard to freedom of speech and Penny Sparrow's comments were hateful.


Gareth Cliff fired by Idols for tolerance of racism. His place on the judging panel will be taken by Somizi's hair.

Pearl Thusi is scared / Jealous Mnet might call Bonang to be the next #idolsa judge to replace Gareth Cliff. only explanation i can come

I'm so happy to hear that Gareth Cliff has been fired from idols.

People who actually think that Gareth Cliff is racist. πŸ˜’πŸ˜‘

Idols rating will drop by a million viewers because of the abscence of Gareth Cliff.

@GarethCliff is not a racist. #mnet reconsider your decision. Please. He's critical I know, but racist, No. πŸ’—πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ pic.twitter.com/KobUJokFvb