Jeremy Mansfield's refugee comments stir outrage

2015-09-20 14:37

Johannesburg - Popular radio personality Jeremy Mansfield has caused an outrage on social media following a Facebook post in which he questioned why refugees can arrive in Europe without going through arduous visa application processes.

The post on September 17 read: ''I am looking at images on SkyNews of imigrants [sic] trying to make their way into Europe. They all seem to be males and children. Where are the females? Are the Arab states exporting their problem? Is this a way of exporting their religion to Europe? As a member of the Commonwealth and a property owner who pays tax in the UK I still have to buy a visa as a result of Home Affairs bungling. Anyone from a muslim [sic] state gets free entry. I pay.''

The backlash on Facebook and Twitter was instant.

A Facebook user wrote: ''People like you truly disgust me with your pathetic whining about having to get a visa to visit your property in the UK of which obviously you are not a citizen I'm happy to say. I can only surmise you're an exponent of the apartheid era. Good luck with that.'' 

Others posted: ''I wish God puts u in a situation one day where u have to fight for the safety of ur family!''
and ''What an awful way of thinking I can only hope that you will find compassion one day, it's much better than hate.''

The next day [on Friday] Mansfield posted about how excited he was to spend ''5 weeks of rugby bliss'' for the Rugby World Cup.

A little later in the day he posted: ''Wow! Just seen the abuse from people who disagree with my post on the Syrian crisis. You don't have to read what I post. You can ignore what I say, just as I choose to ignore your vicious comments back."

But Facebookers and some fans continued to round on him and one another over the flood of refugees trying to leave Syria, many drowning in overloaded boats, as they made for European territories.

A call to the nation to stand together for the Springboks ahead of their disastrous World Cup opener against Japan did not stop the comments and people continued expressing their anger with rants such as ''You racist imbecile''.

Mansfield tried to draw on his charity work to defend himself as not being racist and heartless but by 22:27 on September 18, he backed off with: ''I have taken note of the anger about my comments on refugees. I accept they have offended many people. I sincerely apologize unreservedly and withdraw them.''

Twitter users responded:


By Saturday morning he was ready to throw in the towel on Facebook saying: ''Even an apology is not accepted. I have not had as much abuse thrown at me for doing the right thing. I have never been called a racist bigot so many times. I don't need this abuse from people I don't even know. Maybe I should just close this page down and ignore the world.''

Facebookers had still not forgiven him but he kept his profile running - sticking only to rugby.

Read more on:    migrants  |  racism

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