Gareth Cliff recently released a statement in response to a woman claiming that he tried kissing her friend when she was a teenager.
The South African radio and television personality Gareth Cliff responded to sexual allegations made on Twitter in a statement on Monday, 22 February 2021.
This comes after he found himself trending on Twitter when a woman, with the Twitter handle @FemalePencil, alleged that the radio DJ tried kissing her friend at a club years ago when she was only 15.
Meanwhile, others took to Twitter to say that “they’ve been waiting for these stories” surrounding Cliff and that the South African entertainment industry “needs its #MeToo revolution”.
Needless to say, the Twitter posts started to trend with various people making their own claims.
Cliff responded by saying that he never would have purchased drinks for someone he knew was underage and that it is not unusual for him to be trending on Twitter.
“Someone posted a tweet saying that when she and her friends were 15 (she’s 27 now), she met me at a nightclub and I bought them drinks and propositioned them. Needless to say, it took off on Twitter and other fallacious titbits piled up about everything I’ve probably never done, including that I should be de-platformed for among other things.”
Cliff says that he’s been a broadcaster for 25 years, which puts him in the public eye, and so he came to understand long ago that this comes with the territory.
“While I was at 5FM, I used to deejay at clubs every weekend for over a decade. I’d be lying if I said I’d never bought drinks for people or that I’d never made a move on someone I met in a club, but I can, without any fear of contradiction be sure that I would never have done this if someone told me they were underage, or if I discovered this on my own.
“Over the years there have been multiple accusations about me and complaints lodged with the BCCSA about things I didn’t actually say. These are documented in my last book and were proven to be misconstrued or taken out of context. The sensational headlines which media outlets use to sell newspapers or, in today’s world as ‘clickbait’, sadly fuel the cesspool of disinformation.”
After naming various headlines in Sunday newspapers of himself that he had to “endure” since becoming a well-known name in South Africa, Cliff says he is not a journalist but that journalists have to dig deeper.
“I urge journalists to dig deeper than Twitter for newsworthy stories and to editors, to dig deeper than scandal for some integrity in allowing false and damaging headlines. What is the reward of a few more clicks against the damage to a person’s life?”
Cliff also mentions that he is a long time ambassador for Women and Men Against Child Abuse and SGBV causes, and hosted a series of webinars on this topic and dedicated shows on eNCA to creating awareness around this last year.
“It doesn’t help the seriousness of this situation that Twitter warriors and some of the media chase the Twitter trends about “celebrities”, while South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of rape and femicide – which have escalated since the lockdown.”
You can read Cliff’s full statement on his blog over here.