Media personality Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung has vowed not to apologise for insulting journalists who questioned him about his cooking show and rumours that he and his husband Mohale were about to divorce.
Sunday World acting editor Kabelo Khumalo sought Somizi’s comment on speculation that season 2 of his cooking show, Dinner at Somizi’s, had been delayed over a legal challenge by Hastings Moeng, who claims the show’s concept was stolen from him.
However, Somizi replied to Khumalo’s SMS message with unprintable slurs about her and her mother.
Separately, City Press journalist Julia Madibogo sought Somizi’s comment on the divorce rumours, but he threatened legal action without providing his comment.
“Please make my year and write the story, as I will sue the living hell out of you and your publication for this crap you are asking me….get your facts right or go join Sunday World,” he wrote.
The popular Idols SA judge and Metro FM presenter subsequently posted screenshots of the journalists’ messages on his Instagram page, including their cellphone numbers.
SANEF calls for action and apology
The SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) issued a statement earlier on Tuesday calling for action against Somizi and for him to apologise. It claimed the two journalists have received threats from Somizi’s fans.
SANEF said, “His actions have aggravated what is already a hostile working environment, especially for women journalists. This is a direct attack on media freedom in the country.
“SANEF calls on Mhlongo to unreservedly apologise to these journalists and the public on all his social platforms for his unbecoming behaviour. He must call on his followers to stop harassing and intimidating them.
“Further, we call on the journalists to lay charges of intimidation and for MultiChoice to officially distance themselves from Mhlongo’s comments.”
Defiant Somizi won’t apologise
However, Somizi has remained defiant. Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, he said, “I am not going to issue an apology. For me it is tit-for-tat. Let them bring it on. I have been bullied for a long time.
“My life is in the public eye and journalists have to write what they like about me as long as it is factual. What I have noticed all my entire life is that some journalists are exercising their powers in the wrong way.
“I only learned through the media that my husband has cheated on me with a married person – which is not true. There is no such thing. They are writing things that are not factual.”