To Recap, reading statements, news reports and between-the-lines:
SuperSport had no crisis communications plan in place when the Ashwin Willemse moment exploded on national television last Saturday night.
SuperSport realized today, after 6 days of indecision, that it actually has no plan at all to resolve the Ashwin Willemse moment.
SuperSport also apparently has not been monitoring its broadcasts especially analyst interactions.
SuperSport apparently has no record of Willemse’s poor performance against his contractual obligations.
SuperSport apparently tried to browbeat one or more of the analysts into agreeing the racism / no racism thing was just a mistake but it was was told to sod off.
SuperSport apparently was not being truthful when it said there was no animosity between the three men.
As “profound” as Willemse found the “engagement” this week with SuperSport, Naas and Nick, he would not be brow-beaten into retracting Saturday’s on-air comments. Rather than being construed as silence signaling a retreat, Willemse’s silence since Saturday must be seen as standing by his on-air claims. That was his position on Saturday night and it remains so until retracted.
SuperSport thinks this will be settled by June 11, but it must prepare for the long haul.
Media24’s articles this week claiming Willemse had a poor work ethic, was tardy and preparing to launch a political career, seemed like a clumsy attempt to shift the focus from what it was. It fits in exactly with published research into how attacks are orchestrated on those who complain about unconscious racism.
Media24’s later attempt to highlight a technical glitch along with a detailed “chronology” as the reason for Willemse “causing” all the trouble, was simply asinine. Can we expect that SuperSport did not have proper measures in place either to correct a technical glitch or the more serious problems that may arise from such an issue?
Attempts to suggest that the Willemse moment required a statutory or legal resolution denies the reality that acts of racism in South Africa (as they are elsewhere) can be either formal, easily defined, conscious and illegal actions, or they can be informal, difficult to pin down, unconscious and illegal actions.
SuperSport underplays the real, unconscious racism that black people experience every day that is extremely difficult to “prove” but which festers until a trigger – which might be very slight – sets off a response.
SuperSport’s abject failure to deal with the claim of “unconscious” racism in its studios has had one mildly useful outcome – it has resulted in the consciously racist trolls coming out to play in huge numbers. The country needs to apply the law firmly against the racists.
The lines are starkly drawn between racist and non-racist.