Anele in trouble over gaffe
HIGHVELD Stereo's Anele Mdoda found herself in hot water yesterday after comments she made in April about Miss Universe Canada's first-ever transgender contestant, Jenna Talackova.
Listener Adrienne Visser complained to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA after the popular afternoon drive host"dehumanised" Talackova by referring to her as "it" and made comments like "balls to the wall".
Visser, a transgendered woman herself, said yesterday that Mdoda's comments were "unacceptable".
Visser and the commission 's panel of four - headed by Professor Kobus van Rooyen - debated whether Mdoda's comments advocated hatred.
Although Khahliso Mochaba, Primedia's lawyer, conceded Mdoda's comments were ill-advised, shedenied the commission's code of conduct was breached.
The code in question was 4.2 (C), which reads: "The advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, religion or gender and that constitutes incitement to cause harm."
Mochaba said: "We acknowledge and appreciate that this was in bad taste - we're not in doubt about that. We spoke to Anele about it because we cannot have that on our stations," she added.
Primedia apologised for Mdoda's gaffe, but when other advocacy groups present began talking about an on-air apology, Mochaba said that would not happen until there was a ruling from the commission .
Talackova was quoted earlier this year as saying that although she was born a boy called Walter, she identified herself as a girl as early as at the age of 4.
She convinced her family at the age of 14 that she wanted to become a woman, and began hormone therapy. By 19 she had completed her gender reassignment surgery.
She was disqualified from Miss Universe Canada for not being a "natural-born" female.
In an interview with CNN, Talackova said of her identity: "Like I always say, my family didn't understand, so why would I expect anybody else to understand? And then they got to know me and they loved me."
Following her surgery, Talackova convinced women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred to help her challenge Miss Universe owner Donald Trump's rules - eventually winning that battle and entering the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
At the pageant last month, Talackova made it as far as the top 12, but failed to progress into the final five.
Van Rooyen admitted that the case was a "learning curve" for him, and promised all the parties would be notified once an investigation has been concluded.