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Marah Louw claims she was 'blacklisted' after speaking out against the Fergusons

'I haven't worked since 2017...'

15 October 2019 - 13:24 By Kyle Zeeman
Marah Louw says her dispute with the Fergusons still hasn't been resolved.
Marah Louw says her dispute with the Fergusons still hasn't been resolved.

Marah Louw has applauded Vatiswa Ndara for penning an open letter highlighting the alleged mistreatment of actors at Ferguson Films last week.

The veteran actress has since reflected on the consequences she's had to endure since speaking out against the company last year. 

Vatiswa cast the spotlight on alleged "bullying and exploitation" of actors through an open letter which she addressed to arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa last week.

Marah had a run-in with the production company last year, telling TshisaLIVE that her contract was terminated in September 2017 after producers told her that writers had run out of storylines for her character.

She was then apparently offered a per-call contract which she labelled as "insulting and disrespectful". Shona Ferguson told Sunday Sun that Marah was not fired from the show but was in and out of contract.

After reading Vatiswa's letter last week, Marah told TshisaLIVE she was glad that someone had spoken out about the treatment of actors in the industry.

She said that it was encouraging to see actors rally behind Vatiswa but warned that the actress could be blacklisted, like she had been.

"Since I spoke out, I have been blacklisted. I have not worked since 2017. It's a cruel industry. I have been told by a few producers that they would love to work with me but they have been told that I am impossible to work with and complain about money. I was told by another producer that he wanted to work with me but was told not to. I now live by the grace of God."

Marah denied claims that she is a diva and said her issues with the production company had not been resolved.

"I have never been a diva. I have always been humble and quiet. My only fault is that I make people laugh on set. I have never acted like I am better than anyone."

When approached for comment on Marah's claims, The Fergusons' lawyer Brendan de Kooker told TshisaLIVE he was waiting for instructions from his clients before commenting.

Marah said she was proud of Vatiswa for taking a stand but questioned whether the minister would really take action.

"I have a lot of respect for Vatiswa and I salute her. I read the whole letter and I felt like she represented a lot of people in that letter. It takes a lot of guts to speak out, to go that far.

"I wish her luck and hope that the arts and culture minister does something, but I don't see it happening. Right now we are still fighting to get paid for repeats."

SA Guild of Actors chair Jack Devnarain also applauded Vatiswa for speaking out on alleged exploitation in the acting industry and said she may have sacrificed her career in doing so.

"She is a whistle-blower, she has laid it bare. Sadly she has had to sacrifice. What exactly that sacrifice means, we don't fully know yet, but it is possible that she has sacrificed her career as an actress," he told TshisaLIVE.

Jack said that part of the issue was that younger talent was coming into the industry and were willing to work for less, making it easier to exclude other talented actors.

He said the Performers' Protection Amendment Bill is currently sitting before President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law. The bill would allow for actors who were working, including those who had been blacklisted, to receive residual income in the form of royalties for work they previously done.