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DJ Fresh’s language was 'unfortunate' but 'lacked intention': BCCSA

16 July 2019 - 06:23 By Nico Gous
DJ Fresh.
DJ Fresh.
Image: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi/2016 Loerie Awards

The on-air language used by DJ Fresh - which led to Metro FM firing him last week - was “unfortunate”. However, he "lacked intention".

That is what that the SABC and the Metro FM said in their submissions to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) following a complaint from listener Daniel Mokwa.

“We sheepishly accept that the presenter [Fresh] was overtaken by emotions to rationally respond to the comment made by the listener against him. As an experienced presenter, we anticipate that the incident could have been avoided and for that we sincerely apologise to the complainant,” Metro FM said.

Mokwa complained that Fresh used an adaption of the Zulu swear word “msunery” and in a separate incident he told another listener to “stop tweeting from his arse” on May 20.

Mokwa argued Fresh’s language was inappropriate, offensive and unsuitable for children.

The BCCSA ruled against and reprimanded Fresh and Metro FM, but said Fresh “sounded surprised and immediately reacted to this emotion” and his utterances “lacked intention although negligent”.

“The host did not intend to offend listeners nor cause harm to children who could have been part of the audience. The words were however distasteful and as an experienced presenter, the host ought to have had more control of his emotions,” BCCSA commissioner Nokubonga Fakude said in the ruling.

“An arse refers to the anus or buttocks, which bears the same meaning as ‘umsunu’ [not ‘msunery’] … The word ‘msunery’ is not a genuine word. The complainant derived from this that the host indirectly meant ‘umsunu’, which is a Nguni word meaning an anus …

"For an ordinary listener with regular sensibilities it may not be concluded that the host meant ‘umsunu’ … The word arse is a common word which is often considered to be slang and vulgar language. Considered in context, this statement was distasteful and amounted to vulgar language," the ruling continued.

The SABC said it suffered “considerable negative publicity” and “caused irreversible, adverse and negative brand image which has resulted in embarrassment and humiliation to the brand”.

Metro FM fired Fresh last week with immediate effect after “unsuccessful engagements” and for bringing the SABC into “disrepute”.

Fresh later said in a statement: “To those I offended with the use of the word msunery, I apologise unreservedly, and will do better next time. I start a brand new show and chapter on August 1 2019.”