NEWS

Bell Pottinger Findings: Campaign Was 'Potentially Racially Divisive'

The controversial PR firm has released findings into an independent investigation into its work for the Guptas' Oakbay.

04/09/2017 13:01 SAST | Updated 04/09/2017 13:01 SAST
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Ajay and Atul Gupta with Duduzane Zuma. Photo: Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi

Bell Pottinger, the controversial London-based public relations (PR) firm, created negative material targeting wealthy, white South Africans that was potentially racially divisive.

That seems to be the gist of the findings of a report by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), which was asked to investigate claims around Bell Pottinger's work in South Africa, Business Day reports. The report was commissioned by Bell Pottinger. The firm released the findings, but not the full report.

Bell Pottinger chief executive officer James Henderson resigned at the weekend.

The findings further state the Bell Pottinger team working on the Oakbay account "arguably breached the relevant ethical principles" that guide the PR industry by misleading and undermining journalists that asked questions around the campaign.

Surprisingly, the report found that Bell Pottinger was not responsible for inventing the term "white monopoly capital" and that its social media campaign only involved one blog and one associated Twitter account.

This is a developing story.