BET Africa scraps Pearl Thusi sit-down with Tol Ass Mo

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Pearl Thusi.
Pearl Thusi.
Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images
  • BET Africa has scrapped an interview with Tol Ass Mo.
  • The comedian was set to appear in the upcoming season of Behind the Story with Pearl Thusi.
  • This decision comes amid ongoing court action against Tol Ass Mo, who is facing allegations of rape.

Following heavy criticism for its controversial decision, ViacomCBS Networks Africa is retreating and will no longer broadcast an interview between Pearl Thusi and Tol Ass Mo.

Controversy erupted when BET Africa announced that Mongezi Mahlangu, known as Tol Ass Mo, together with his wife Mome, would be included in the next series of sit-down interviews in the upcoming fourth season of the celebrity profile series Behind the Story fronted by Pearl Thusi.

With MultiChoice and ViacomCBS Africa running gender-based violence (GBV) campaigns and TV ads during Women's Month over the scourge of violence against women in South Africa, Pearl was accused of being "tone deaf" after she shared that she would be interviewing Tol Ass Mo who is facing ongoing court action after allegations of rape was brought against him by actress Lerato Moloi.

In a statement earlier this month on 4 August Lerato revealed that she was allegedly sexually assaulted and raped by the comedian while working on a TV production in 2014 in Paarl in the Western Cape.

Mome supported her husband over the weekend saying on Instagram: "I will support my husband until he is proven guilty not by Twitter.[sic]" She added: "I will not be crucified to make decisions on something that’s in court , I will remain with my vowed till feather notice.[sic]"

Pearl who initially defended her right to interview Tol Ass Mo later deleted her social media post and has now also locked her Twitter account. BET and ViacomCBS Africa initially also supported the celebrity interview inclusion in the upcoming season.

The Queen Sono star compared her upcoming Tol Ass Mo interview to that of CBS News' Gayle King in the United States. Gayle King interviewed R Kelly for a news special specifically about the multiple rape allegations swirling around him. Pearl said that she is not a judge but "an activist".

When Pearl was asked when she will be interviewing Lerato Moloi, she said she is "still waiting for her to agree".

On Sunday afternoon ViacomCBS Networks Africa in a statement made a U-turn and announced that the Pearl Thusi sit-down with Tol Ass Mo will no longer be happening as part of Behind the Story.

"BET Africa confirms that the Tol Ass Mo and Mome interview from the upcoming new season of Behind the Story with Pearl Thusi will not be aired on the channel out of respect for the current environment, legal proceedings and the basis of impartiality," ViacomCBS Networks Africa said.