Hot Topic of the Week

Former Idols SA judge, Mara Louw was drunk during a live recording of the popular singing competition in 2010, which led to her contract not being renewed. In recent developments, Gareth Cliff’s involvement in the incident has sparked outcry from Twitter Mobs.

Cliff Hanger Book CoverGareth Cliff is no stranger to bad publicity, but after the upcoming release of his new book, Cliffhanger, Cliff has received an onslaught of negativity from the Twittersphere. In the book, several confessions have been outlined, arguably the most controversial of which is the fact that Cliff played a part in costing Mara Louw her job. Cliff allegedly admitted to pouring Louw a drink of Red Bull and vodka before an airing of the show. Mara became emotional, was slurring her words and even cursed on live television, which cost her her job on the show, and has tarnished her reputation.

“I passed Mara her drink and all was well until halfway through the show when she became a touch emotional”. – Gareth Cliff

Twitter users have been vocal about their disgust over the matter since the Sunday Times reported on Cliff playing an integral part in the scandal, which resulted in his name being a trending topic for most of 27 and 28 November. Detractors have gone so far as to liken the incident to rape or brought feminism and race into the conversation. Not only have opinions been shared on social networks, but an online petition has been launched to keep Cliff’s book off retailer’s shelves.

What’s interesting is that the news isn’t brand new information. The fact that Cliff gave Louw a Red Bull and vodka was public knowledge when the incident occurred in 2010. What’s more is Mara was well aware of what she was doing at the time, as she confessed in an interview on 702 and Cape Talk. She has also not blamed Cliff for what happened but rather taken complete ownership of her decision. This demonstrates the power of social media and how quickly negative conversation can spread.

Gareth has defended himself, stating that the title of the Sunday Times article was “sensational and misleading”, and urged people to read his book before jumping to conclusions.

While most have shared negative commentary over the scandal, others stated that, good or bad, the news is publicity for his new book.

What do you think? Do you think he is to blame, or has the story been blown out of proportion? Is this merely a case of Common Cognitive Distortion? Do you think this will have a positive or negative impact on sales of his book?