The journalist who found himself thrown into the centre of controversy last month has issued a heartfelt apology for his conduct. Barry Bateman of Eyewitness News was caught on camera calling EFF leader Julius Malema a “f***ing p**s” following a heated address to the media in September.
The CIC had just emerged from the Hawks’ headquarters in Pretoria, after giving a statement on an alleged assault of a security guard back in April 2018. The altercation is said to have happened during a memorial service for Winnie Mandela. Malema, responding to the allegations against him, slammed the claimant with his usual brand of fire and brimstone – Juju even suggested he should have “caused some real damage”.
Who is Barry Bateman?
Once Julius Malema concluded the interview, various news cameras kept rolling. A visibly-angered Barry Bateman could be seen looking at his camera equipment, shouting the obscenities. It sparked a viral outrage, with many commentators and media professionals condemning their colleagues’ behaviour.
Julius Malema was the first to demand an apology, slamming the reporter for his “disrespect”. Bateman has duly obliged, and his regretful statement has been made public for the first time on Tuesday:
“I, Barry Bateman, unreservedly apologise to all South Africans; all women; Mr Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF; my employer, Eyewitness News, a part of the Primedia Group; and everyone else that I offended during my derogatory, insulting and obscene outburst on the 10th of September 2019.
“My comments went against my company’s values and risked undermining the important role it plays in promoting gender equality, its contribution to the country’s war against gender-based violence, and its role in building trust as an ethical media house.”
“I have accepted the disciplinary charges immediately instituted against me by EWN, as well as the consequences that my actions have borne. This includes a one-month suspension without pay for the month of October and a final written warning for my conduct, valid for a period of 12 months.”
Barry Bateman’s apology statement
EFF vs the media – the ongoing feud
The tiff comes at a time where the EFF and the media are still at loggerheads. The party have grown frustrated with alleged “unfair treatment” from the press, who have retaliated by labelling Julius Malema and his followers as a group of bullies. The EFF were recently in court, squaring-off against the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) – judgement has been reserved in the case.