The Citizen has suspended its digital news editor Daniel Friedman over his controversial comments on social media.
In a statement on Friday, the publication said Friedman will remain on suspension until an internal investigation is concluded.
It said, “Management has noted public concerns regarding online news editor Daniel Friedman’s statements made on his personal Twitter account, social media and other online platforms. Some of his statements were made through his comedy persona, Deep Fried Man.”
‘FF+ supporting white people aka racists’
In a tweet earlier this week, Friedman suggested that Freedom Front Plus (FF+) supporters are “racists.”
The matter relates to a screenshot of a Twitter poll conducted by Democratic Alliance (DA) activist Renaldo Gouws.
FF+ won the poll, closely followed by the DA. Twitter user @PhillowThwala commented, “To me this shows that this guy [Gouws] is followed by white people.
Friedman, using his Deep Fried Man account, then replied, “Not just any white people, [but] FF+ supporting white people otherwise known as racists.”
Friedman’s comment sparked outrage among some Twitter users. FF+ deputy youth leader Jéan Kriek slammed him for his “one-sided views.”
He tweeted, “It is very concerning that @TheCitizen_News online editor Daniel Friedman (@DeepFriedMan) holds these controversial and one-sided views without any evidence…
“What exactly are The Citizen‘s social media policies @CH_Cilliers? How does being a @VFplus voter equate to being racist?”
In its statement on Friday, The Citizen said it has a “strict social media policy” and urged the public to await the outcome of its internal investigation.
It added, “The allegations concerning Friedman will be handled according to this policy. If disciplinary proceedings are required, these will be launched and conducted fairly and reasonably.
“The Citizen respects the sanctity of freedom of expression. In very few cases would we ever support the suppression of any opinion, even if some may deem it offensive.”
Friedman has not yet commented publicly on the matter. However, he appears to have deactivated his @DeeFriedMan Twitter account.