Gareth Cliff has been suspended for two days by 5fm as a result of an 'interview' he conducted with 'Jesus' on his show yesterday afternoon, which elicited numerous complaints from listeners.
Cliff apologised to his listeners today for any offence he may have caused, stating that he had not intentionally aimed to disparage any religion, but rather to parody the motion picture "The Passion Of The Christ" which has been greeted with vigorous debate internationally and releases in South Africa this month.
The 'interview' was pre -recorded with Cliff interviewing himself playing 'Jesus'.
Commented Nick Grubb, Programme Manager at 5fm, "We believe that the segment was inflammatory, and could have been interpreted negatively by a large portion of our listeners. Whilst Gareth is often irreverent and controversial, he merely overstepped the mark this time."
John Langford, 5fm's Station Manager added, "As a responsible broadcaster we simply cannot endorse any content that unnecessarily undermines the religious beliefs of our listeners."
Gareth Cliff will be off air on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th March and back on air on Monday 15th March for his afternoon drive time show.
Posted on 10 Mar 2004 17:57
Editorial contact Total Exposure Diahann Chidrawi Tel: (011) 788 8725
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God is forgiving, isn't he / she?-
damn, give him (Gareth Cliff) a break.... isn't this also freedom of speech?
hay all you negative people...so people make mistakes who doesn't? before you guys all bad mouth him look at yourselfs and ask yourselfare you perfect everyday? i use to think yes gareth is an asshole until i saw him on idols and he is a great person and yeah maby you should listen his show more then you will hear he's got a good heart and thinks clearly about most problems we have today so yeah think twice before you bad mouth others!
Looking at all the comments here, Iam amazed. Statistics say that 80-95% of South Africans are Christians. I can truely say that I don't know about that. I don't listen to 5FM due to the fact that it is just not my type of music. I honestly don't care how popular Garreth may be or whatever. We will never know what his intentions was when he said the things he said. People that comment here just saw this as an opportunity to slam each other on what THEY believe to be correct. All I want to add to this is that no matter who you are or what your status is, you should respect other people and their believes. Religion is not a joke to anyone. There are other things to "joke" about and be entertaining. Religion has and will always raise issues and it would be better to stay away from such things. From the history on his career, I would think he would have known this by now. People have the right to stand up for their believes and that is right in our country. Some advice....Never take on Christians, they will give you a hard time. God bless.
i dont understand it! you guys just rewind and freeze! garet cliff is one of those ppl who make 5fm what it is today so do us all a favour and take the sticks that are lodged up your behinds and give it a rest! so from my point of view!. . .gareth you rock! and keep up the good work!
Why suspend a fantastic DJ like Gareth Cliff when there are worse DJ's like Stan Mars from P4 radio that physically beats a woman gets arrested and goes back on air the very next day?! Now thats plenty of reason to be suspended indefinately, don't you think? He's court trial starts the 16th Feb 2005.
We all know he is a great DJ WE are the ones that voted for GARETH CLIFF now he makes a mistake and ALL YOU PEOPLE can do is sit and make rude and insulting comments... HAVE YOU GOT NOTHING BETTER TO DO.?.
If we put the rude comments he might have aside i think he is a kick ass DJ and if you are going to let this one stupid thing get in the way you are dumb!!!
Ask yourself WHY he is here? because he has the rude yet interesting show...
At the end of the day, the station is aimed at lighties, and presented by lighties. So, they do what lighties do. They push the boundaries, until they overstep one. Then they get slapped, behave for a while, and try something new. Nothing wrong with that, except that if they had enough common sense and/or experience, they would realise where to draw the line, and how to create publicity that works for the station in the listenership and revenue stakes. It appears that they haven't racked up enough hours in the trenches to do that yet.
See, 5FM no longer has dominance in any of the major regions in the country from a listenership perspective (despite the fact that the regional stations don't even target the same segment as they do).
Income wise, they have dropped from a once top 2 station to number 7 on the back of a butt-burning market share slide. New regionals are being launched next year, so that share will be eroded further. If this strategy remains their best effort to be noticed, they're heading the same way as the toilet humour that drives it.
So, interview who you want boys, but this angle isn't working...
Oh yes, and next time get on your knees when you do the interview. And wait for the real interviewee to answer. You may learn something.
How can 5Fm make such a statement and act so surprised- do they not check all material / scripts that get aired.. how can they now hide behind the curtain and play ignorant... They should take as much of the blame & responsibility as does G.Cliff (which by the way i think is completely full of hot air)
Gareth is the biggest joke on radio, his shows are senseless and I have never heard someone laugh at there own jokes as much as this idiot, half the time they are not even jokes. His show is insipid and that goes for his attitude as well, Gareth , who are you trying to be?
Dont be so sensitive. We all live in a society full of issues only created and then recreated by ourselves.If people are so offended, then they have an issue they may not be facing. We're all so quick to judge yet hate being judged, so quick to complain and yet never compliment - who cares what Gareth does, leave him to it, get on with your own moral issues, standards and life! South Africans are far too concerned by everybody else rather than themselves. What Gareth did will not change the views of those who are religious and it wont change the views of those who aren't, so dont be so sensitive.
I can't believe this guy, first Mark Pilgrim gets axed because he leaked the boring news that Nicole & Gareth were an item (scary but true) and now gareth merely gets a slap on the wrists. Gareth lowers the tone of SA broadcasting.
I get the feeling reading all the responses above that the "pro's" for Gareth must be coming from the station or SABC folk themselves - quite pathetic really, protecting their 'little wonder' boy'! Everyone is bored to death with this bloke. As for the music on the station...lets not even go there!
Belief systems are screwing up your life, and if you let something like this bother you then please take a look at yourself, and ask why do YOU let it bother you, he did something unique (for a change) and people respond by saying that he is immature, he took a risk and so what, when was the last time you did something risky. If he bothers you (the people that complain) then choose another boring radio station that keeps playing even more of the same songs with dj's that are too damn scared to speak their mind. Maybe those are the people that should take off their blinkers and start living.
5FM's decision is a celebration - whatever the reason...-
For whichever reason he got sacked, it should be applauded. It just happens to be religion that ticked the listeners off (and rightfully so). I care only about the fact that a VERY immature opinion has been silenced (albeit for 2 days only) who finds himself in the company of a very mature audience...an audience that thinks about life holistically and not just living from one funny moment to another without understanding its impact on existance.
5FM lost the plot! And it is also losing listeners!-
5 FM is seriously losing out in the listenership race. They are making the fatal mistake of targeting more than one strategic market at the same time. If they want black listeners then Gareth is dead weight. If they want white listeners then their music is dead weight. They are invisible at the moment because they have too many tune out factors in their line-up and playlist. 5 FM choose who you want to be and who you want to listen and focus damn you!
Many of the pro Gareth comments being posted here, argue for freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Mention is also made that if one does not like what they hear, then a simple change of station is the obvious solution. I don't think any sane person would argue that freedom of expression and speech are bad things. However if one had to be honestly fair, one would have to admit that total freedom of expression with no boundaries, is irresponsible to society. I think most South Africans would agree that if Gareth went on air parodying, mocking and making light of our racist past or say Nelson Mandela, it would not be acceptable. Likewise if Gareth parodyed some obscure sexual perversion, it would also not be acceptable. So lets all admit that somewhere in the line of freedom of expression, there is a point where the negative effects of offensiveness become more important to deal with than the positive attributes of freedom of expression. The place of this point is subjective and moving all the time - but to deny its existance is to put ones head in the sand. Back to our jock Gareth - it is a statistical fact that 80.5% of the population in South Africa list some form of Christianity as their religious affiliation (Statistics SA Census). While many of these people may not practice their faith on a day to day basis, it is the Christian faith they fall back on when needed - marraiges/ funerals etc. No person can deny that at the centre of the Christian religion sits the person of Jesus Christ. Different sects may ascribe him different status, but all forms of Christianity would agree that Jesus is a highly important figure in their faith. When this person is mocked, ridiculed and made fun of, it is no wonder that offence it taken by so many people. The offence is real and warranted. Gareth Cliff has shown absolutely no respect or consideration to the majority of the people in this country by mocking their central figure of faith. Would he dare do the same to the Prophet Mohammed whose followers only represent 1.5% of our population (Statistics SA census)?? I think not - he would be far too scared of the repercussions. Would he dare make a mockery of the holocast? Would the readers of this site dare to defend him so vigourously if he did? The principles are identical, real offense has occurred to many people and he deserves his censure.
Economist, I scan these forums weekly for signs of intelligent life in what seems an increasingly primeval soup of inhumanity. Your comment was a needle in the haystack, and well worth the pain of the search.
Economist! Give me a break. Throw stones when you are without sin. I am a Christian and I am tired of people taking righteous indignation at something like Gareth's innocent fun, yet simultaneously they themselves are anything but paragons of Christian virtue. If we need to ask, how old are you and did you march for the rights of the disadvantaged in SA. And if you didn't get the chance, would you have risked your precious life for those of others. Please. Point your fake anger at things that really make a difference. Stop cutting up people like Gareth when cheap shots cost you nothing. Spend your energy on the real problems, like unemployment, poor education, exploitation of degenerating world resources and poverty. As an aside, I don't support Gareth at all, but I think those who take the time to complain are patently not busy enough or to busy doing nothing. Find real issues. Not cheap ones.
I find it amusing that you mention that any one taking time to comment on this issue cannot have better things to do. By you taking the time to comment on my comment you convict yourself of your own charge. Offensiveness is nearly always a subjective topic. There will always be those who do not agree with the people who may take offense. That is fine but these people while being entitled to their own opinions should learn to respect the rights and opinions of those who may be offended. I find it incredible that those who speak so strongly over freedom of expression, almost always have zero tolerance for those whose own convictions differ from their own. It is a mind set which says diverse opinions, convictions and levels of tolerance are fine, so long as they do not differ from my own. This mind set sits on both sides of a religious debate and the secret is to find a point of balance between the two.
John, please dont use our constitutin as the backbone of your argument. It shows how little grey matter you have!!! You sound like a typical ponce and as egotisical and brainless as Cliff, whom none many like at all!! I wonder what your collegues think of you!
It appears from the purility of the statement made by VQ on John's well thought out and presented discourse of how our rights as SA citizens have been affronted and diminished by the managerial pratts at the SABC, that he is obbviously one who ardently listens to 5FM .... Nuff said!
Have they seriously lost it at 5FM ... Sadly they now reflect the purility of the nanny state that we are becoming. THe beauty of radio is that if you do not like what is on, you can turn it off or tune to another station..
We are going backward people !!
Think National Party days where everybody thought for everybody elase ad told us what to do ... We need the 1000 rule ... ( for those who don't know .. if less than 1000 people complain then it wasn't material so ignore it )
Not Gareth Cliff. How can one,(Mel Gibson) sincere and religious as he might have one believe, use one of the most central figures in many religions, Jesus for commercial gain. A perfect recipe for a movie maker: Lets see, we've got the equipment, we've got some actors, I've got a studio, but I dont have a story, lets see....ummmm, Hey lets use the bible, its a free script, no copywright no hassles, lets just make it dramatic, forget about researching the history , lets make a movie. And as for those aggrieved christians, stop applying double standards, what about Pink singing if God was a dj, what about Robbie Williams, " sitting and talking to God"...all of the songs that are in fact constantly being played on 5FM... are there any complaints? NO.. cos those very same people would be seen dancing or singing along to these songs. DOUBLE STANDARS make me sick. Gareth Cliff has appologised, Everyone deserves a second chance. God forgives all His servants, why can't man. (A true Christian will know this).
I listen to 5fm every day and gareth's show is the only one really worth listening to,one of the reasons for this is because he's so dam honest! And to create such a stir is a good thing i think,well at least u can actually see how many listeners he has.I just wanted to say gareth needs to carry on doing whatever it is he's doing because im positive he's the only dj that has millions talking about him... he doesn't even do a christmas wish list!
the point of freedom of speech if for people such as gareth to exercise their creativity and for us to listen. (if we want). for goodness sake people i cant believe that some people were actually bored enough to waste their money calling into 5fm to complain!!!!!. for the love of the almighty the off switch on the radio is there for a reason so bloody hell use it!!!!! for those who are against what gareth did: BOO SUCKS TO YOU!!! im catholic but i dont care what the man says on radio if u are a grown person and of reasonable intellect you should (by now) realise that somethings in life should be taken with a pinch of salt!
Good - a relief to get rid of him for a day or 2. I find his comments and info very childish and irritating! He is seriously annoying and I often now change my radio station on the way home from work to KFM or anything else - as I find his stupid perverted comments on Paris Hylton and the lack of women in his life, and general info so unbearable! A long term Radio 5 listener..............
Ok, first of all, there's Christians, and then there's Christians. True Christians HAVE a sense of humour, loves ALL God's creations (even the irratating ones), don't get upset and stirred up by trivial issues that does not affect our belief, but are also not going to lay flat on there backs for any T,D&H to walk all over it. In context, I think a two day suspension is just enough for Gareth to realise that not all "Christians" are TRUE Christians, and that they will still get offended by things like this (in a country that initially and probably still doesn't really understand democracy), and also to make him realise that this group of people does make up a large percentage of the station's listeners.
Pixi - Let more love in your heart, buddy, and remove that huge plank in your eye.
It is amazing how quick radio stations are always ready to call for the suspension of our Radio personalities every time a controvesial issues is discussed and listerners do not approve of it.
I for one do not see anything wrong with the interview.
We often here people calling for creativity, but as soon as people like Gareth Cliff leave up to that call, he gets chopped. To my knowledge every programme on radio or television has a programme manager, who is suppose to be advicing on the content of the programme.
This particular case is an indication that someone is not doing what he/she is mandated to do. I think in this case the presenter is as guilty as the programme manager.In fact the programme manager must carry a full responsibily of this.
He must be the one apologising to the listeners, not the presenter. Why suspend Gareth not his manager? My advice to Mr Programme Manager is it is never too late to start doing your job in a proper way. Otherwise if it is too hot in kitchen "GET OUT QUICKLY BEFORE YOU BURN YOURSELF".
People take life way too seriously! They should take things in the spirit it's given in! It was controversial, so what! Whatever happened to freedom of speech and in this day and age where our constitution gives everyone rights, why can't a dg have a little fun and give his view on the matter?
Of all the religious groups, the christians are probably the softest target. If this guy was such a great shock guy, lets see him take a pop at a group a little more vocal or physical. Probably too scared!
SUSPEND THE LITTLE PATHETIC BOY GARETH FOR GOOD!!!!!!-
Gareth is just a sour, miserable human being. Such a pathetic excuse for a man. He got beat up in school and now he's trying to act the big shot. Puuhhleaaaze Man!!!! Go flush your pathetic attitude down the toilet! I was disgusted at what he said! I normally listen to 5fm on the way home cause they sometimes have good songs. But when I heard that!!!! Oh, he'll be punished for it! GOD WILL NOT LEAVE IT THERE. Gareth, if I were you, I'd go on my knees and apologize to the big Guy upstairs, otherwise prepare yourself for a one way ticket to hell.
Gareth shall surely go straight to hell, where he'll burn in agony for the rest of time. That's what all you good 'Christians' would like, isn't it? Helluva charitable bunch you are, dripping with the milk of human kindness. What makes you think any god worth believing in wants such small-minded hypocrites on her side anyway? God has a sense of humour too, you know - that's why she created funny little people who get their knickers all in a twist every time their puny belief systems are challenged. It keeps her entertained. Try to see the bigger picture for a change. But then I suppose there's nothing big about you except the size of your prejudice. PS: Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see any bolt of lightning wipe the Monty Python team off the face of the earth after The Life of Brian!
One of my favourite shows 'The Life of Brian'. I just wish Gareth was on more often, then I'd listen more often. Christianity?? I believe, i really do but all the venom these so called devout believers are spewing is rather frightening. Where is the forgiveness, understanding, etc etc. I have to say, bunch of hypocrites and morons! The rantings are fuelled with double standards.
People take themselves WAYYY too seriously. Jesus was a radical brother who would not have gotten his knickers in a twist over a harmless radio skit. My Jesus is too cool for such trivialities. Why is 5fm kissing repressed ass anyway? Leave Gareth alone cos he's a major reason why we listen to 5fm anyway - BLESSED ARE THOSE WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR
Who really cares what Gareth Cliff does or says. Who is he anyway... A young idiot who takes no responsibility for his inflammatory remarks on national radio. Shock value has no value. Original thoughts and ideas, that produce original programming, interviews and the like, that inspire critical thinking in listeners is what he is aiming for, but so often he misses his own point completely. He's a weak satirist and the various opinions he belts out to unsuspecting listeners, day after day, are largely cliched and banal. Believing you're an intelligent, critical thinker, as Cliff does, does not make it true. Add to that the incredibly bad music Cliff plays most of the time and I say drive time is on a road to nowhere.
Freedom of speech, freedom to switch channels, freedom to turn down the volume. In a democracy we are still over sensitive. Gareth's parody does not change my religion, my beliefs or the existence of Jesus. It has no physical effect whatsoever. Why are people offended? Why can we not live and let live? Gareth may have behaved inappropriately although he was not giving an opinion on Jesus Christ, only making a parody of the film, but in any event, to be offended is to imply that everybody must tow the line as long as it is your line they are towing. True belief and faith cannot be altered or swayed or even "offended" by ANY remark in whatever context! Why don't people get that? Just because someone behaves as though they respect your religion doesn't mean they really do, so let them be free to say what they really believe, as long as this doesn't translate into actual discrimination or persecution. Let's live in a real democracy and respect everyone's right to free (non-hate) speech.
Lets assume that he can say anything he likes according to you.
The the following can be said (note that it is not necessarily my opinion):
1. "The government is a bunch of wankers who deserve to die" 2. "All gay people should be hanged from the nearest tree" 3. "Muslim people should hunt down and shoot Christians or vice versa"
and so forth...
The point is that Gareth should entertain and to a point be outspoken. But he did overstep the boundries when he said what he said because he chose a specific group of people to bash and insult. Just because you don't believe in something other people revere, doesn't give you the right to go on national radio and insult them...
I had no idea that most of the comments here would be so sour and negative... The broad South African media is, in contrast to these dreary moans and groans, a positive, vibrant industry, filled with a remarkably talented new group of young contributors.
Thank you for your interest, whether complimentary or not. I'm delighted with the fact that my show is growing.
People should wake up and realise that there is a world out there with people who are different from them. Most people don't like what Gareth has to say, because it's true and straight to the point. People always say be upront, but they can't handle a truth that is different from their own ideas. Gareth stands for something and is not reluctant to show who he is and what he stands for. I think his mission is not to shock or offend people, but rather to give people an oppetunity to know that there could be a different side to the story. Keep him on the air, it would be the best thing for the station
... two days! Please, that's just a nice long weekend for him! No excuses Gareth, you're a public figure and need to grow up, be responsible and original. If everyone who's offended tuned into another station, where would 5fm be?
Gareth Cliff should have been off air a very long time ago to rather spend some time on important issues such as growing up!! Well done to 5FM management for dealing with tough issues decisevely - and starting to see him for what he is.
It is time that 5FM managers realise that LSM 7 to 10 listeners find Gareth an embarrassment. If they can't cancel his contract.....then is there any chance that he just play music. Driving home has become very depressing and juvenile.
Ah come on Adrian, give the guy a break - the whole thing was a wind up, and if you can't take it, just tune in to another station - after all, we are supposed to be able to CHOOSE what we listen to. I for one am looking forward to hearing Gareth back on air on Monday, you are most welcome to tune out!
To be honest Adrian... I would far prefer listening to Gareth Cliff he is far more oestrogen friendly than Darren Scott.
I understand that the station manager had to take serious action in light of the "interview" but to be honest... I was not offended and I am a Christian, if anything it was amusing. I do know that there are VERY serious Christian out there who cannot even utter the word Jesus outside of prayer because (SHock Horror) it would be blasphemus!
He did overstep the mark this time but usually he is highly entertain and God forbid... he makes one think!
Don't get me wrong. It's not the religious angle I'm concerned about. I'm just happy that Gareth "The Idiot" Cliff is off air. Ever since his Radio Tuks days he's never learnt that no one wants to listen to him rambling on and on on one of his lame-assed infantile tangents.
Just stuck in stupid student mode, trying to be controversial, trying to stir. Only if it didn't make for such cringe-worthy radio. Maybe 5fm should do a little survey and see how many people want this loser off the air.
Not that his buddy Randell Abrahams would let his pal go, of course ...
gareth cliff is the most inconsiderate moron to ever be on radio, he does not consider anyone's religion or opinion and should have been fired for what he did! i am ashamed that somebody like gareth is a south african citizen.
it funny to see how many people have no sense of humour in this country. No wonder it's going to s**t. So the guys teases a few aspects of life! so we should just all keep quiet from now on so we don't affend anyone. Come on people, get a life and just laugh at stupid stuff like this! Everyone is so touchy! You are just boring people!
Gareth is cool, coz he says what he wants! get over it!
It's all good and well to laugh at little issues, but I don't think blaspheming is a little issue. Gareth should learn to choose his enemies. He doesn't want to be an enemy of God. Also, anyone who laughs at those kinds of jokes should be held accountable as well!!