Some Fin24 users say South Africans were 'too sensitive' in their reactions to Cell C chief executive officer Jose Dos Santos’s controversial comments about women.
Dos Santos came under fire this week over comments he made in an interview on internet radio station CliffCentral.
“If I can use the term on the radio station, women do have a bitch-switch and, boy, if you see two women fighting, it’s worse than two men having an argument,” Dos Santos said in the interview.
Dos Santos also came under fire over other comments he made such as men’s reaction to Miss South Africa participants being offered internships at the company.
“Do you know what it does to the atmosphere in that company, the men dress better, they shave every morning,” said Dos Santos.
Dos Santos in the interview also said: “We have good-looking women, we have clever women, we have smart women and that’s created a different environment”.
Dos Santos further spoke about how Cell C’s women staff has increased from around 40% to over 60% since he joined the company in 2012. He further said that he wanted to see a female CEO take over from him.
Regardless of his comments about empowerment, the likes of the Cell C’s controversial “bitch-switch” comments resulted in him facing allegations on social media that he’s a sexist.
The CEO subsequently apologised and said he regretted his choice of words.
A group of ‘top women management’ leaders at the company also released a statement on Wednesday that said they still support their CEO.
And several Fin24 users say that South Africans are ‘too sensitive’ about his comments.
Fin24 user Cyril wrote:
“I think South Africans are over sensitive... if this man is sexist is as some say then why would he be a proponent of empowering women? How can it be a bad thing to have good looking women at work? Everybody wants to look good at work don't they? Some folk see what they want to see and hear what they prefer to hear.”
Fin24 user Solly wrote:
“I think South Africa has become a highly-sensitive nation, people cannot be light anymore and take simple jokes. We categorise everything, racism, feminism, sexism, etc. I see no offense in his statements, and I don't think it is derogatory to women at all, I think we all understand what he was trying to say and it is a common knowledge to most of us.”
Fin24 user Aadila said:
“I am a 26 year old professional female and I laughed the comment off and I will probably use it again when I refer to my temper or mood. It's true, women do have a 'bitch' switch. It's poetic, and catchy. Don't take the term so literal. Women refer to each other as bitches all the time, in a much worse sense than I'm sure Dos Santos meant. We have become a society where we are so ready to crucify someone for one wrong word or action instead of appreciating all the things they have done right.”
Fin24 user Koot said:
“Not the correct choice of words but everybody today is so worried about being 'politically correct' that things sometimes get blown out of proportion.Have a look if he has really empowered women like he claims.”
Fin24 user Danny said there are bigger issues in society than Dos Santos’ comments.
“You guys, you’re too sensitive. There are bigger things we should waste our energy on unlike on this non-issue. Please guys, lets be focused: Our problem is the head of state who undermine our democracy by violating our constitution. That's the issue - let us take our strength out to that please.”
Fin24 user Thomas said South Africa is ‘losing the plot’ and he has lauded Cell C’s women team for publicly back the company’s CEO.
“Good for them to come out and support their CEO. By the sounds of it he is doing the right things. The people in the street obviously don't know about the good things he is doing at Cell C. I am afraid our society is losing the plot. One foot wrong and people put one in front of the firing squad. Better to keep quiet. It will then be a silent and boring world. I guess if both men and women dressed the same, looked the same and behaved in like manner, there would not be a need for any opinions from anyone. In my view women can brighten even the most difficult working environments. I personally found it very gratifying and uplifting working with professional and smart women. They really can make a successful business even better. For what is worth.”
Fin24 user Vic wrote:
“Full marks for dos Santos. He is doing good at Cell C, trying to encourage his staff is viewed critically by outsiders but ask the staff! He's also doing good for cell/ data users, showing up the competitions greed/ bad practices. Try walking in his shoes.”
Fin24 user Heather said:
“I would say that what the CEO is stating is true, but come on people, too sensitive, we live in such a hectic and stuffed up world, a little humour is quite nice sometimes, relax people, move onto something else more important, and there are plenty more important things to take note of, not this.”
Finally, Fin24 user Nelmich wrote:
“I don’t think the remarks were meant to offend. I am sure most of us ladies understand what he meant. Unfortunately there are odd apples who misunderstand and don’t get ‘the pun’ and simply use the pun to stir the spoon to get their voices heard. No offense taken sir. I have your back.”