Gareth Cliff. (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - M-Net's axing of Idols judge Gareth Cliff was the worst form of racism, his lawyer Dali Mpofu told the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
He said only six of the celebrity's 1.2 million followers had called for a boycott of Idols because of his response on Twitter to Penny Sparrow's comments that black people were monkeys.
Cliff responded in a tweet, saying Sparrow had a right to freedom of speech.
Shortly after that, M-Net announced he would not be a judge in the upcoming Idols season.
"This was one of the worst forms of racism," said Mpofu. "Gareth Cliff was discriminated against because he is white."
He also referred to two other Idols judges, Somizi Mhlongo and Unathi Msengana, who themselves received a public lashing for comments made on social networks, but were kept on the show.
Mpofu said, had Msengana and Mpofu tweeted what Cliff had, which was "People don't understand freedom of expression", the matter wouldn't have made it to court.
"We wouldn't even know about it," Mpofu said.