News24 publishes then retracts racist article on Michael Holding

The article titled “Holding hypocrisy” was retracted by News24, and its editor-in-chief says he will get to the bottom of the issue, but readers are furious and demand answers.

News24 found itself in the middle of a storm late Saturday night after it published an article about former West Indian cricketer and commentator Michael Holding. The article titled “Holding Hypocrisy” called the former cricketing great a “cheat” and described his wife as a “balding lumpy porker brown Arawak native from Antigua”.

The ad hominem attack on Holding drew immediate condemnation from readers on Facebook and Twitter and it was subsequently deleted by News24. But those outraged said they want action taken on the guilty party who published the piece.

Veteran South African journalist Niren Tolsi said he wanted to know who “was responsible for publishing a vile, hateful, sexist, racist “letter” to News24 about West Indian commentator Michael Holding.”

Holding is currently in South Africa, as part of the Supersport cricket commentary team.

Responding to the criticism and complaints on Twitter, Adriaan Basson, News24’s editor-in-chief said: “I can promise you action will be taken – this article does not represent what my colleagues at and I stand for.”

The article was published in the MyNews24 section – where “stories come from users”. In this case, an author named Jason Stoneman had allegedly penned the piece.

Editorial: What we learnt from the HuffPost saga

In a similar incident in April 2017, Huffington Post South Africa published a piece by a community member who argued that white people should be excluded from voting. The article was retracted but it cost Verashni Pillay, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post at the time, her job.

Editor’s note: Sipho Hlongwane, the managing editor of The Daily Vox, is formerly the blogs editor of Huffington Post SA, a sister title to News24.