WATCH | K-word video backlash mauls Catzavelos

Adam Catzavelos
Adam Catzavelos
Image: Screengrab via Video

Yet another company expressed its disgust and cut ties with St George’s Fine Foods on Wednesday as the fallout intensified over one of its directors uttering the k-word in a video showing him on a beach with no black people in sight.

Adam Catzavelos was hastily dismissed from the family business for his “abhorrent” comments as furious South Africans took to social media to express their disdain.

“The OPEN Food Group was made aware of Adam Catzavelos’s action on the morning of August 22‚ 2018. We are appalled and disgusted by his racial remarks and we condemn any and all hate speech and racist behaviour shown by Adam Catzavelos‚” CEO Tamar Klonarides said in a statement released on Twitter on Wednesday.

“These remarks do not represent who we are as an organisation nor as individuals who make up the organisation. As of today‚ procedures have been taken to ensure that our head office and all our ancillary sites will no longer use products and services provided by St George’s Fine Foods or any entity that is associated with Adam Catzavelos.”

This was the latest firm to cut ties after a video in which Catzavelos used the k-word while celebrating the fact that no black people were around him on a beach went viral. In it‚ he said: "Let me give you a weather forecast here: Blue skies‚ beautiful day‚ amazing sea and not one k****r in sight. F***ing heaven on earth."

He then pointed to the camera and said: "You cannot beat this. You cannot beat this."

It was not immediately clear whether Catzavelos was back in the country following his beach holiday. There was no movement on Wednesday outside his Johannesburg home where the gate remained firmly shut.

A black street vendor‚ selling strawberries and naartjies‚ sold his goods to motorists in traffic just a stone’s throw away from his house. Several cars were parked on the side of the road close to his house‚ the occupants waiting for a school nearby to close for the day.

But as soon as Catzavelos‚ who deleted his social media accounts‚ resurfaces‚ he will have to face the music as a criminal case was being opened against him by the Economic Freedom Fighters and a complaint has been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission.

Social media users on Wednesday also took aim at those who posted messages of support for Catzavelos‚ suggesting they too should be named and shamed.

Commentators on social media voiced concern over whether Catzavelos would be liable for prosecution under the South African legal system as his utterances and the offensive video may have been filmed abroad. As a South African citizen‚ he was obliged to follow the laws of South Africa‚ said the SA Human Rights Commission’s Gift Kgomosotho.

Businessman Adam Catzavelos took to social media to boast about a beach holiday where ‘not a single k****r’ was around. Here’s how social media reacted.

"The Equality Act does not have limitations‚" he said‚ adding that legally‚ they did have a case of hate speech against him.

Kgomosotho said they were yet to make contact with Catzavelos. "Just like Penny Sparrow‚ we are hoping he will be fined by the Equality Court."

AfriForum on Wednesday condemned the use of the k-word but added that there should be consistent condemnation of racism from all race groups.

Ernst Roets‚ deputy CEO of AfriForum‚ said all forms of racism should be condemned. “AfriForum has already submitted 115 criminal charges against people who had incited the murder and even genocide of minorities.

“It is concerning that‚ when there is a call for violence against minorities‚ it receives almost no attention in mainstream media. When a white person‚ however‚ says something offensive about black people‚ it is regularly elevated to a national crisis‚” said Roets.

The Baron Group of restaurants said earlier on Wednesday it would no longer serve its steaks with basting from St George’s Fine Foods and would look for a new supplier.

“[On] the morning of August 22 we were made aware of the recent racist video (from Catzavelos) and investigated. We found his video to be completely unacceptable and have with immediate effect terminated our business with St George’s Fine Foods‚” Baron Group director Gareth Spencer said.

Sports gear manufacturer Nike also issued a response earlier on Wednesday after some Twitter users mentioned that Catzavelos was married to Kelly Catzavelos‚ a merchandising director at Nike. There have been some calls on Twitter for people to boycott Nike because of her connection to him.

“Nike opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity‚ inclusion and respect. We believe in the power of human potential in everyone – of every race‚ religion‚ nationality‚ gender and sexual orientation. We can also confirm that Adam Catzavelos is not a Nike employee‚” the company stated.

Catzavelos’ family said they were appalled at Adam’s use of the k-word and have reportedly dismissed him from the business.

The family issued a statement which read: “It is abhorrent and we fully disassociate ourselves from the sentiments expressed. We reject racism in any form. Adam Catzavelos has been dismissed with immediate effect from the family business‚ St George’s Fine Foods‚ and his minority shareholding will be unwound as soon as practically possible.

"Given the high-profile nature of this development‚ the business has been temporarily closed for the protection of all its staff. We have no further comment at this stage.”