DJ Fresh under fire for ignoring suicide tweet

2011-11-30 09:22

Popular radio and club disc jockey DJ Fresh has come under fire from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group after posting a message on Twitter that appeared to encourage a suicidal acquaintance to follow through on his threat.

DJ Fresh, real name Thato Sikwane, posted to his Twitter account late yesterday: “Attention seeking person i know says ‘i just tried to kill myself’… would it be ‘wrong’ to send them 5 ways that WILL work? #SOselfish”

The tweet immediately raised the ire of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, which responded: “@DJFreshSA 1.Not attention seeking, a cry for help. 2.Would u give ur kids those same 5ways if they said that to u? Disappointed@ that tweet”.

‘Spoilt brat’
This set off a Twitter exchange in which the 5FM DJ defended his tweet, adding: “Attention seeker… i KNOW them… YOU DONT … go thru this drill every single yr… including all possible ‘interventions’ …”

To which the South African Depression and Anxiety Group responded: “we DO go through it...about 400 suicidal calls EVERYDAY. They keep threatened because they need help. They will do it oneday.”

DJ Fresh then went on to refer to his suicidal friend as a “spoilt brat that does this so they have shit go their way evry yr end... all interventions tried! maybe help them “out” now”.

As he became deluged with responses to his tweets, which some Twitter users called “appalling” and “unfortunately unfortunate”, DJ Fresh maintained that he was talking about a personal experience and that he would continue to express his views even if they might upset his more than 144 000 followers.

He also said that he would continue to support the South African Depression and Anxiety Group because he “ought to”.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group also used their Twitter to raise awareness of suicide and depression statistics in South Africa: “75% of people tell someone or ‘threaten’ first before they actually commit suicide. 220 attempted suicides & 22 completed suicides every 24 hours in SA.”

However DJ Fresh remained resolute, saying: “i REPEAT: this person is NOT suicidal... they “cry wolf” to get shit go their way at home!! hence an gatvol”

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group also accused DJ Fresh of “undoing” the hard work the organisation had done with him when he supported their campaign to destigmatise mental health issues, before offering to meet with him to discuss the matter.

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