Man in racist rant video apologizes, feels 'total shame'

A South African man who filmed himself on a beach making racist comments about black people has issued an ap...

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 2:46 PM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 2:46 PM

A South African man who filmed himself on a beach making racist comments about black people has issued an apology.

In the video, Adam Catzavelos described an unidentified beach as "heaven on earth" because there were no black people around and also used a derogatory term for black people widely known in South Africa as the k-word.

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In his statement, Catzavelos said he has "shown a complete lack of understanding of what the people in our nation have endured."

"I have watched my video and feel total shame. It is hard to put into words what I want to say and genuinely apologize." he added.

The video caused widespread outrage after a Twitter user posted it on the platform on Tuesday, resulting in Catzavelos being fired from the family business.

The family company, Johannesburg-based St George's Fine Foods, may also have suffered from Catzavelos' racist statements as at least one company, the Baron Group, said it stopped doing business with the manufacturer of sauces and marinades.

The hashtag #AdamCatzavelos trended as people used Twitter to condemn his comments, with some sharing his personal and work details as well as those of his wife, Kelly Catzavelos, who South African media says works as a merchandising director for sportswear firm Nike in South Africa.

However, Catzevalos's statement has not been completely accepted by some South Africans on social media who feel his apology is "hollow."

Eusebius McKaiser, a host for Radio 702, tweeted that there was "no clear admission that his speech was racist and that he is a racist."

South Africa has a fraught history with racism and apartheid and many said the video stirs up memories of a painful past.

It also caused much soul-searching online among white South Africans.

Some turned to Twitter to start a conversation around race and addressed the complicity of other white South Africans -- who may bear witness to racist conversations but choose to stay silent.

This tweet is an example of what's being discussed on social media:

"White South Africans who feel progressive have a duty to stand up and denounce those, relative or not, who use the 'k-word' at dinner or around the braai [a South African barbecue] because we all know this still happens a lot. I am genuinely tired of people like #AdamCatzavelos."

In 2018, Vicki Momberg, a white South African woman, became the first person in South Africa to be imprisoned for racist speech. She was sentenced to three years in prison, with one year suspended.

In 2016, a real estate agent, Penny Sparrow, was ordered to pay around $10,000 to charity after she was convicted of hate speech for a Facebook post in which she referred to black people as "monkeys."

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