Disciplinary hearing for Bell Pottinger
UK-BASED PR company Bell Pottinger’s (BP) “hateful propaganda campaign”, allegedly in aid of the Gupta family, could have ramifications as the firm faces a disciplinary hearing next month in the UK.
The DA announced yesterday that the Public Relations and Communications Association, a trade group for UK PR firms, will institute a hearing against BP following the DA’s complaint that the PR firm had “sowed racial divisions in South Africa”.
This relates to the year’s service it offered Oakbay Capital, the Gupta family’s investment company, where, according to the DA’s Phumzile Van Damme, the company “designed and carried out a hateful and divisive campaign for the Guptas and Zumas in our country, which is still dealing with a very painful past”.
Van Damme said her party and BP were required to submit summaries of their respective cases for evidence consideration within 10 days from yesterday.
BP had itself issued an apology earlier this month when announcing the termination of its services to Oakbay, where the firm issued a “full, unequivocal and absolute apology” for social media campaigns that it deemed to be “inappropriate and offensive”.
The company stated it had hired law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to launch an inquiry into its social media account.
Meanwhile, the Helen Suzman Foundation and civil groups Section27 and Save SA said yesterday they had written a letter to BP’s chief executive to request “access to the terms of reference and all information which will form the basis of the investigation” for the groups’ intention to make representations to UK regulatory bodies to understand “the social, economic and potential legal implications of BP’s conduct”. – Staff Reporter