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EDINBURGH — Gupta public relations firm Bell Pottinger has hired lawyers to ‘audit’ its work for the Gupta empire. It has also gone on its own public relations offensive in the UK as it has become a central feature of the state capture story that is dominating South African headlines. Its CEO James Henderson has claimed in an industry publication that allegations against Bell Pottinger are “completely untrue”. However, that’s not washing with South Africa’s Democratic Alliance party, which has asked UK PR organisations to investigate evidence that has emerged that Bell Pottinger has been stirring up racial animosity and even inciting civil war. For many South Africans, Bell Pottinger represents the face of evil: It has taken taxpayers’ money to ‘promote’ South Africa yet it has been working against the country in the pay of the Guptas. If you doubt the role of Bell Pottinger in developing the white monopoly capital myth that is causing division in society, scroll to the end of this article to catch up on the explosive revelations emanating from the #GuptaLeaks – a treasure trove of emails leaked from the heart of the Gupta business empire. – Jackie Cameron
The London-based public relations (PR) company at the centre of a state capture campaign is on its own PR offensive in Britain. It has hired lawyers to help it “audit” its work for the Gupta empire and has claimed in an industry publication that it is innocent of all wrongdoing, a UK media company reports.
South Africans have been protesting against Bell Pottinger via social media channels and have even taken to the streets to demonstrate against the company’s nefarious business activities.
The UK’s PRWeek says that in April “Bell Pottinger stopped work with the client after accusations in South African media and on social media of using racially divisive language as part of the corporate reputation brief.
“It was said to have been part of a political campaign involving Oakbay majority owners the Gupta family and the country’s president Jacob Zuma.”
Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson told PRWeek at the time that the various allegations were “completely untrue”.
“He said the firm was stepping back after just over 12 months on the account because it had ‘become the story so much so that it had become impossible to effectively represent that client’, and that ‘abusive and threatening’ comments made to staff on social media had also contributed to the decision to step away from Oakbay.
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) July 2, 2017
“PRWeek has now learned that Bell Pottinger has briefed an international law firm to undertake an audit of everything that it did for its former client,” says PRWeek.
The industry media outlet says Bell Pottinger “hopes that this will provide an independent record of its actions, and allow it to answer and dismiss concerns about its work”.
“Bell Pottinger declined to name the lawyers involved. The law firm was briefed earlier this month, and is expected to deliver its report within weeks”.
The Bell Pottinger party goes on despite Twitter anger
Bell Pottinger, which held its summer party last night, has also protected its main @BellPottinger account on Twitter, reports PRWeek.
“Protecting its tweets means that this means that new followers would have to been approved by the agency, and that nobody other than followers can see its tweets. Some individual employees have done the same.”
PRWeek tells its mostly UK audience: “The frequently visceral anger directed towards Bell Pottinger on Twitter, often using the #BellPottingerMustFall hashtag, has included threats of violence, insinuations of it having carried out violent acts, accusations of racism and comparisons with Josef Goebbels and the Nazis.
— Naufal Khan (@naufalkhan) June 27, 2017
“It is suggested by Twitter and Facebook users that increased racial divisions in South Africa would decrease the likelihood of Zuma, who has been accused of being excessively influenced by the Gupta family, being forced out of office.”
MD Victoria Geoghegan has been painted as an innocent victim, according to Bell Pottinger – which says she has been wrongly called “evil” and “bloodthirsty” by a number of Twitter users.
“Bell Pottinger has also recently stopped working with the UK operation of South Africa Tourism. The agency told PRWeek it understood that this was ‘based on political reasons, following the gross misrepresentation of our work for former client Oakbay’. The tourist board said that this had no bearing on the account being handed to another agency,” reports PRWeek.
For more on the #GuptaLeaks, see:
It has taken only a few years for Geoghegan and her associates to help bring South Africa to its knees – all in the name of personal hubris. Bell Pottinger suggested an initial monthly fee of £100 000 (roughly R1.5m), the #Guptaleaks reveal. There is no way to put it nicely: Victoria Geoghegan represents all that is rotten with the public relations industry and public companies fuelled by short-term shareholder greed. It is hard to imagine a more evil operation than Bell Pottinger. Read more.
It is ironic that a white monopoly capital firm – the London-headquartered Bell Pottinger– was hired by a Gupta entity to orchestrate a campaign to create the monster of white monopoly capital in South Africa. There have been suspicions and allegations that Bell Pottinger put together a devious strategy to defend the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma by painting them as victims of greedy white racists. Teams of journalists sifting through a massive bank of leaked emails linked to the involvement of the Gupta family in South African government and business have now uncovered evidence that Bell Pottinger also had a hand in propaganda put out by the ANC’s MK and Youth League divisions. Helping to conduct the campaign was Nazeem Howa, a former journalist who moved on to work for the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments. Read more.
President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma is a key figure in the #Zupta campaign to siphon funds out of state coffers. This is apparent as the investigative teams at amaBhungane and Scorpiomake sense of correspondence contained in the most sensational information leak South Africa has possibly ever seen. The emails, dubbed #GuptaLeaks, contain evidence that prove allegations that President Jacob Zuma has allowed an immigrant family to pull the levers of political power and raid state coffers. Zuma’s son has been working directly with the Gupta family, using the Zuma name to further Gupta interests and living the life of a rich person as the benefits flow back to him. International money-laundering and tax evasion are in the mix as are hints that President Zuma has been making moves to live elsewhere. Read more.
South Africans are sickened to the core to learn that Victoria Geoghegan, the creative mastermind behind the ‘white monopoly capital’ narrative and smear campaigns targeting President Jacob Zuma’s critics, was promoted by her firm. London-based Bell Pottinger has shrugged off criticism that its strategy to heighten racial tension and sow division in order to further corrupt Gupta interests is anything other than a case of “all in a day’s work”. The Public Relations (PR) firm went a step further by appointing Geoghegan to managing director of the agency’s financial and corporate division. Read more.
It turns out that Bell Pottinger was hired to sell South Africa to the international community for SA Tourism. Happy to take taxpayers’ money for that contract, Bell Pottinger omitted to declare that it has been actively working against South Africa’s wellbeing and reputation for another client by helping to push the state capture agenda. Read more.
If seasoned journalist Peter Bruce doesn’t win through legal channels, he is determined to use the power of the pen to fight the forces of evil directed by the Gupta family in a state capture campaign that is damaging the economy and jeopardising social stability. Read more.
The #GuptaLeaks reveal that the Zupta account has been so lucrative for Bell Pottinger that it sent an invoice for just under £350 000 (about R5,5m), for a four-day trip that included a suggested speech for Collen Maine of the ANC Youth Leagueand a statement for the MK Veterans Association. Read more.
The opposition Democratic Alliance has fired the starting gun on UK investigations into Bell Pottinger for inciting civil war. There is evidence in the GuptaLeaks – emails leaked from the heart of the Gupta business empire – and elsewhere that the individuals working for Bell Pottinger on the South African account have gone to whatever lengths necessary to keep their paymasters happy. Read more.
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