There was a lesson in the past week for celebrities, politicians and other public figures on how not to deal with the media.
Celebrity Somizi Mhlongo Motaung received questions from two publications this week.
Instead of responding to the substance of the questions, he let rip on the reporters, published their phone numbers on his Instagram and incited his followers to attack them.
He claimed he was getting revenge. For what, we don’t know.
In fact, he had a simple task: on receipt of the questions, he could have contacted the journalists in question and called out their information as false.
If he believed that the stories would be published even if he responded to the questions, he still had recourse through either the press ombud or by instituting defamation lawsuits.
Somizi is a public figure. He sold his wedding rights to a media house, allowing the wedding to be watched by millions of people.
There is no question that when his marriage, which he made a media spectacle of, started to hit the skids, the media would be there to ask questions.
And what compounds matters is that he has since publicly boasted that he won’t apologise for his despicable behaviour.
Somizi must know that the media will not be cowed or intimidated by his cowardly tactics.
His behaviour was violent and criminal, and we hope he will suffer the consequences for this childish and needless attack on reporters.
Having been in the public spotlight virtually all of his life, we expected he would know and appreciate the role of the media.
We will be cheerleaders when he makes strides, but, equally, we will not shy away from uncomfortable questions. He needs to make peace with this.
Once you invite the media into your life, as he has done, you cannot expect to call the shots, dictating to them what they can and cannot publish, especially through coercive means.