Cape Town – Hot tea was allegedly also thrown in someone's face and Penguin Films has now removed but not suspended the art director involved in an alleged "horrible racist incident" on the set of Mzansi Magic's (DStv 161) new telenovela, Ring of Lies.
The alleged tea throwing happened during an ugly verbal altercation on Tuesday that became so nasty and allegedly racist that it compelled frustrated and furious actors like Florence Masebe and Dineo Nchabeleng to speak out about it publicly.
M-Net and Penguin Films started an urgent investigation after the actresses on the show on Tuesday publicly came forward about alleged racism on set with Nchabeleng saying "we have been dealing with this bullshit since beginning of shoot."
Masebe decided to publicly voice her concern, saying "racism is out here dancing on our set", while Nchabeleng called it "the 2nd incident we've had on the set of Ring of Lies today."
Masebe alleges that a crew member told the black director, "I can speak to you anyway I like because I'm white."
It's now come to light that during the ugly on-set spat, witnessed by cast and crew, hot tea was allegedly also thrown by someone in a crew member's face. On Wednesday Mzansi Magic declined to respond over this allegation.
On Wednesday Masebe however said she stands by everything she said on Tuesday when she called the on-set conflict a "horrible racist incident".
Urgent cast and crew meeting on Friday
Reports now surfacing that the art director was suspended is however wrong, with Mzansi Magic's Nondumiso Mabece, PR head of M-Net's local entertainment channels, telling Channel24 on Wednesday that the art director has not been suspended by Penguin Films but is not working on the Ring of Lies production anymore while an urgent investigation is underway.
Although cast and crew are tense, Ring of Lies production is however ongoing on the boxing telenovela that started at the beginning this month on Mzansi Magic that's one of the M-Net produced and packaged channels for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.
Channel24 understands that an urgent meeting with the Ring of Lies cast and crew has been scheduled and while it was set for Thursday, it has been moved to Friday.
Veteran South African TV producer and creative producer and director at Penguin Films, Roberta Durrant, told Channel24 that "Penguin Films have a policy of zero tolerance to any form of discrimination on any of the Penguin Films sets" and that Penguin Films takes the alleged racism incident seriously.
"The verbal altercation was between the director and the art director and we are investigating the incident and are taking all steps to sort it out."
The allegations of racism by Ring of Lies cast members comes just over a month after starlet Mbali Mlotshwa in late March claimed alleged racism on the set of the SABC's 7de Laan soap on SABC2 produced by Danie Odendaal Productions.
Mlotshwa, now working on the legal drama Sokhulu & Partners produced by Paw Paw Films, said publicly that she suffered racial abuse on the 7de Laan set and that "racial slurs happened on set with people I thought were educated and open-minded".
The SABC ordered an urgent investigation but has not shared any findings.
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