South African TV personality and model, Shashi Naidoo, found herself in social media hell as her careless comments about Gaza gained some massive backlash. Shashi posted a photo of herself and DJ Black Coffee in Ibiza on Youth Day, to which one of her followers took the opportunity to comment under the post, criticising Black Coffee's performance at his set in Tel Aviv earlier in the year.
This trip resulted in a wave of criticism for performing in Israel but he defended himself by saying that he's an entertainer trying to feed his family and not a political party.
Shashi rushed to his defence, posting a paragraph-long reply at one point stating: "Taz makes reference to Gaza being a 'toxic waste dump'. No question Gaza is a sh*thole of immense proportions."
An hour later, Naidoo deleted the comments and posted an apology, which was also deleted a few hours later when it became clear that the public weren't buying it. She then posted a short video of herself apologising, in tears, which was also deleted shortly thereafter.
some of the brands affiliated with Naidoo posted statements distancing themselves from her and her opinion regarding Gaza. As the angry storm of media only grew over the weekend, Naidoo issued another apology to the Palestinian people and broader society as a whole and explained the events leading up to the ill thought out comment. Her official apology was as follows:
"I apologise unconditionally, but I would also like to [use] this opportunity to explain what happened with regard to my recent Instagram posts. I posted a picture with a DJ [Black Coffee] recently in Ibiza, and the post attracted commentary from another Instagram user, because he [Black Coffee] had played in Israel.
"In what I believed was a defence [of] him, I reached out to a friend to help articulate a response and offer a secondary point of view, as to be honest, I didn't know much about the situation (although it sure must have looked otherwise).
"I stupidly copied and pasted the response verbatim in a feeble attempt to appear smart on social media, without reading it comprehensively (I know), thereby entering an issue of world importance, I had no real fundamental understanding of – my biggest mistake. There is no spin. This is the truth. I expressed his worldview as my own, and for that, I will forever live with the consequences.
"It is with great humility that I step forward and not only accept, but again, sincerely and deeply apologise to all that I offended and hurt [with] my post in regard to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and my lack of understanding in my initial apology to the Muslim community. This should [have] been to the Palestinian people in the first instance, and broader society as a whole.
"I agree with the commentary that it not only highlighted my ignorance on the issue and the way it was handled but also made me seem uncaring and indifferent to the suffering of any human on this planet. I in no way wish to make excuses or expect people to forgive me at this time. I messed up. I know that, and I take full accountability.
"All that I hope to achieve is convey that I am sincerely sorry, and in a way thank everyone who called me out, as I have learnt from this. No matter what one's beliefs are, there is always room for empathy and compassion.
"The [past] couple of days have shown me that there is a larger education that I need to undertake on issues facing humanity. I have read the commentary and will further not only educate but re-educate myself. Words will never be enough to express how truly sorry I am. It will be in my actions going forward that I do better."
BDS South Africa held a conference on Wednesday with Naidoo, who reached out to BDS's Mohamed Desai who praised the positive objection on social media towards Naidoo's comments. Desai also announced that BDS rebuked all manners of violence, referring to the death threats Naidoo had received following her comments. He reported that Naidoo reached out for help on her own accord and agreed to travel to the Gaza area with the help of SACC and South African Jews For a Free Palestine in order to learn about the problems and suffering taking place in the area.
It appears that the damage has been done and Naidoo has lost many endorsements even though she is attempting to fight her way back to the top.