News Brief

A White Male's Fake Op-ed About White, Male Privilege Cost A South African Editor Her Job

Verashni Pillay was forced to resign as editor in chief of the Huffington Post after unknowingly publishing a fake blog post written by a man working for a right-wing think tank.

The Huffington Post South Africa's editor in chief, Verashni Pillay, was forced to resign on Saturday amidst a storm of controversy surrounding the publishing of a fake news post entitled “Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?," which has since been removed from the site.


The post was published with a byline that credited a non-existent graduate student by the name of Shelley Garland and called-out white males for being the authors of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, genocide, the Brexit vote, and Donald Trump's presidency and more. It bluntly suggested that white males be banned from voting for at least a generation.

Some of the post's statistics raised suspicion and led local journalists to discover that it was a fake post written by a white man Marius Roodt—working for a right wing think tank. After being exposed Roodt told the Huffington Post South Africa that he fabricated the story in order to expose the "lack of fact-checking in South African journalism."

"I thought, would it work? And it worked. In hindsight I wouldn't have done it. I didn't think it would get this big," he continued. After penning the knowingly false story, the self-appointed whistleblower stated that "at first I was (happy) when it was published, but afterwards, no, when I saw how it blew up. I didn't want to get Verashni into trouble and I definitely don't want her to lose her job..and I hope she doesn't."

His so-called mission to save South African journalism cost Pillay, one of the countries only non-white editors, her position. After Pillay defended the piece's analysis of power imbalances and the distribution of wealth, members of the "white civil rights" group Afriforum filed complaints against the platform. Upon review, the South African Press Council Ombudsman Johan Rief ruled that the article constituted hate speech.

A prank news post about white, male privilege has, ironically, ignited a very real debate about free speech and white dominance in South Africa. Many have taken to Twitter to air out their frustration with the way the situation was handed.

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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