S.e.xual harassment in the work place is a crime that many women have sadly suffered, mostly due to power dynamics where a senior staff member takes advantage of his subordinate. Many women are afraid to speak out because they are threatened with losing their jobs and potentially never working in their industry again.
One woman who is speaking out is TV and radio personality Pearl Modiadie who has come out to reveal that she was not happy or comfortable at her previous radio job.
The mother of one worked at Metro FM with five years and she left this year after her contract was not renewed. She was on the lunchtime show with Thomas Msengana.
Sources have revealed to Sunday World that Pearl was a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of her manager and she had lodged a complaint to her then station manager who allegedly brushed off the matter.
Sunday World claims to be in possession of e-mail exchanges between the radio personality and the station’s marketing team; which expose inappropriate remarks made by her manager at the time.
The publication also reveals that she was a victim of the s.e.xual harassment more than once. In one of the exchanges via email between event organisers and a representative from Metro FM’s marketing team wrote, her manager is seen making an unpleasant comment about Pearl’s booking; wanting to “book” her too.
“When do you need Pearl on stage and for how long?” – a marketing team representative wrote, enquiring about the amount of time allocated to the presenter for an event she was booked.
Her manager, who was copied in the email replied: “Yho since we are there, can I also get asked that question. When do you need Pearl and for how long … you are Pimpsta of the year. Sorry guys but that was really funny.”
Pearl was very shaken and degusted with this reply and called out her manager for his actions.
“I don’t find the response funny at all. This is highly inappropriate. I’m asking about a job that I’ve been booked for by the station and you are taking it in a completely different direction. This is not the first time you’ve made such comments where I’m concerned and I will not take it anymore,” Pearl responded.
The manager responded that he was “only joking” and he apologized, claiming that it will never happen again.
However, when Pearl was contacted for comment, she revealed that it has happened more than once.
“More than once, reference was made about my body shape and how ‘sexy it is’. Uncomfortable sexual innuendos were thrown around during conversations, even in the presence of my now former colleagues,” she said.
Pearl futher explained that the outside broadcast left her feeling like a piece of meat. The incident happened at a cricket stadium. She says she was wearing a tight jumpsuit and as they were taking pictures, her manager asked that she looks the other way instead so that her ‘booty’ would be in the picture.
She also spoke of another incident that happened after she posted a picture of herself in a bikini on Instagram.
“There was also an incident where I had posted a bikini picture on Instagram and he inappropriately brought up a conversation about that picture and how ‘hot I looked’,” she explained.
During another incident, which happened via e-mail, only one of Pearl’s colleagues defended her.
“The last sexual remark he made was in an e-mail that other staff members were copied on. I responded that it made me feel uncomfortable and that I was tired of the sexual harassment I was subjected to. This e-mail was sent during my radio show and only one of the guys copied stood up for me.
“He then apologised on e-mail and came down to studio to apologise in person. I was visibly upset and in tears! Even the celebrity guest who was present for his studio interview saw all of this. I felt violated and couldn’t even show up for work the next day,” she said.
The former Zaziwa presenter also explained that nothing was done when she brought this to the attention of her station manager.
“I had copied the then station manager in the e-mail and there was never a response from her. It was never addressed,” she said.
The SABC, however, claims that it knows nothing about the matter: “The SABC can confirm that we are not aware of this matter.”
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