A few weeks (months?) ago I wrote an article about the dubious reality of reality television. Since then Masterchef SA has drawn to a close and the live shows of Idols SA S9 are underway at the State Theatre in Pretoria.
The winner of Masterchef SA S2, Kamini Pather, sparked outrage from some people. To be more precise, some people who would have preferred another contestant to win. My personal favourites, Neil Lowe and Tiron Eloff left some time ago but unlike some of my fellow Masterchef SA fans I did not take to social media in outrage. I did not slag off any other contestant because my particular favourite left. The Masterchef SA FB page was inundated and bizarrely still is with messages of “It’s unfair”, “Leandrie should have won”, “Kamini didn’t deserve to win. She sucked” and “The judges are a disgrace and Kamini’s a cheat”. More alarming were the postings on the Masterchef SA Kamini Pather page, administered one presumes by Ms Pather herself, where messages were posted along the lines of “Kamini, you did not deserve to win”, “Step down and let Lean3 (sic) take the win” and one shocking message that implied that Kamini won because of sexual favours to the judges. (This message has since been deleted)….and this was all just on Facebook. Some classy individuals tweeted Kamini personally with their particular brand of vitriol, telling her off for beating their favourite contestant to the win.
Not content with leaving hate-filled messages for Kamini herself, they then turned on Kamini’s fans, calling them names and generally being offensive. Where do people get off with cyber bullying a complete stranger? What do they gain from it?
Bearing in mind that these people are mostly in their 30’s and 40’s, people who hold down responsible jobs and are parents. There is this whole anti-bullying drive in schools at the moment which everyone quite rightly endorses and yet the same people who sign these petitions are the ones bullying people online and then reasoning it away with the age-old excuse of “Freedom of Speech”. There is a vast difference between “Freedom of speech” and “Hate Speech”, or Cyber bullying. Let’s look at two examples:
“I won't be watching this show again, thanks! I feel that Ozzy and Jason and especially Leandri were not judged fairly.”
Fine, it’s your opinion and I respect that…but:
“karmini has been a constant annoyance since day one. If the judges really had to pick that mongoloid cow they should have worked on their acting skills”
Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this tantamount to hate speech?
Can someone please explain the reasoning behind being so hateful to a complete stranger?
How exactly does the winner of a reality tv program affect your life to the extent that you have to behave so badly online?
Have you zero common sense?
Did your mothers teach you no manners?
People have committed suicide because of cyber bullying. We’ve all read the stories in the papers and popular weeklies about people being bullied online and taken their own life because of it. Why would you resort to such hatred? Especially considering that cyber-bullying is a sue-able offence and is illegal. People have been taken to task for it numerous times and in the US cyber-bullies face fines and jail time if found guilty. South Africa has it’s own cyber bullying laws, facebook users could be sued for defamation and victims can lay crimen injuria charges with the police. With this in mind, why would anyone risk being labeled a cyber bully?
Can someone please explain it to me because I’m at quite a loss to understand it.
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