Bell Pottinger apol­o­gises for Gupta work

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

FOR­MER Gupta PR firm Bell Pottinger has apol­o­gised for its in­volve­ment with Oak­bay Cap­i­tal, as well as the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta fam­ily.

The UK-based firm has been ac­cused of stir­ring racial di­vi­sions in South Africa while con­tracted to Gupta-owned Oak­bay Cap­i­tal.

Bell Pottinger chief ex­ec­u­tive James Hen­der­son apol­o­gised to South Africans yes­ter­day.

“There has been a so­cial me­dia cam­paign that high­lights the is­sue of eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion in a way that we, hav­ing seen it now, con­sider to be in­ap­pro­pri­ate and of­fen­sive.

“At var­i­ous points through­out the ten­ure of the Oak­bay ac­count, se­nior man­age­ment have been mis­led about what has been done.

“For it to be done in South Africa, a coun­try which has be­come an in­ter­na­tional beacon of hope for its progress to­wards racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, is a mat­ter of pro­found re­gret and in no way re­flects the val­ues of Bell Pottinger.”

The com­pany apol­o­gised to any­one im­pacted by this, adding that such ac­tiv­i­ties should never have been un­der­taken.

Three months ago, Bell Pottinger an­nounced that it had de­cided to cease work for Oak­bay Cap­i­tal.

The PR com­pany said it had ter­mi­nated its work be­cause of in­creas­ingly strong so­cial me­dia at­tacks on its staff and busi­ness from South Africa.

Bell Pottinger also an­nounced that it had fired the lead part­ner in­volved and sus­pended an­other part­ner and two em­ploy­ees.

The four had paid the price for the ac­cu­sa­tions that the PR com­pany sup­ported and as­sisted cam­paigns to stir up racial di­vi­sions through its work for Oak­bay Cap­i­tal.

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