Radio presenter Gareth Cliff recently became a trending topic on Twitter after social media users accused him of sexual misconduct. This comes soon after the controversy surrounding fellow personalities DJ Fresh and Euphonik, who were both accused of raping a woman in 2012.
The conversation around Cliff began when a Twitter user wrote on Thursday [February 18], “We’ll also have the conversation about Gareth Cliff and his many allegations.
“Powerful men in the South African entertainment industry have gotten away with too much, for too long. And while the wheels of justice might not be turning as fast as we would like, they’re still turning,” they added.
The tweet has since received 1627 likes and 479 retweets.
We’ll also have the conversation about Gareth Cliff and his many allegations
— Tutu Zondo (@tutuzondo) February 18, 2021
Another Twitter user then tweeted on Friday [February 19] that Cliff had allegedly propositioned her and her friends at a nightclub and bought them drinks when they were 15 years old. She claims to have told him their ages when they met.
Other social media users then took to Twitter to accuse Cliff of alleged predatory behaviour.
— #TheUncapturedActivist (@AneleMda) February 19, 2021
Ive heard the stories- waiting for his victims / suvivors to come forward- ive been waiting for a long time considering what iv heard- sa entertainment needs it #metoo revolution because the predatory shit is so normalized
— YT: Waseem Imam Saheb (@WaseemIS) February 19, 2021
No wonder the 5% increase…we live among predatory men and paedophiles like Gareth Cliff. https://t.co/4G3spSGEUJ
— Mboni Mushiana (@mbonii) February 20, 2021
Beyond the sexual misconduct allegations, some Twitter users questioned why Cliff still has a platform and argue that he spreads misinformation.
1. I don’t know why Gareth Cliff is trending but I do know that I’m still amazed that brands like @NandosSA still sponsor him.
– He gave a platform to dangerous conspiracy theorist David Icke, to spread Covid misinformation, unchallenged.
– He disputed the US election results
— Verashni Pillay (@verashni) February 19, 2021
Cliff responded to the allegations in a statement on Monday February 22, saying that he never would have purchased drinks for someone he knew was underage.
“Someone posted a tweet saying that when she and her friends were 15 (she’s 27 now), she met me at a nightclub and I bought them drinks and propositioned them. Needless to say it took off on Twitter and other fallacious titbits piled up about everything I’ve probably never done, including that I should be de-platformed for among other things, “He disputed the US election result”… as though I was Donald Trump himself and responsible for the insurrection on Capitol Hill.”
He added: “I’ve been a broadcaster for 25 years, which puts me in the public eye, so I came to understand long ago that this comes with the territory. While I was at 5FM I used to deejay at clubs every weekend for over a decade. I’d be lying if I said I’d never bought drinks for people or that I’d never made a move on someone I met in a club, but I can, without any fear of contradiction be sure that I would never have done this if someone told me they were underage, or if I discovered this on my own.”
Cliff also says that there have been multiple accusations and complaints lodged with the BCCSA against him over the years over things he says he “didn’t actually say”.
He added that he has been a long-time ambassador for Women and Men Against Child Abuse and SGBV causes, and urges people to not feed in to cancel culture.
“With this pandemic still underway, necessitating the need for seismic change in human behaviour, it’s more than ever time to work together to build on what’s good and perhaps try to make the positive stories ‘clickbait’ – instead of feeding fear and hatred,” he concluded.
Picture: Instagram / Gareth Cliff