It’s official – M-Net has been ordered to reinstate Gareth Cliff as an ‘Idols’ judge and to pay the costs of his court application, find out more on the blog today…
The axed Idols judge won the mammoth lawsuit against M-Net earlier today just hours before the first auditions for the reality music show were due to start. The court case was abuzz on social media as the public had much to say about the dispute.
Judge Caroline Nicholls ruled in the High Court in Johannesburg today reinstating Gareth as a judge on the popular show.
“This is a contractual dispute. The contractual relationship has to be reinstated to what it was. M-Net will pay costs to Gareth Cliff,” Nicholls told a packed court.
Earlier this week, the court heard an urgent court application by him to be reinstated as a judge after he was fired by M-Net for comments made soon after the Penny Sparrow saga.
Gareth simply tweeted: “People really don’t understand free speech at all”, creating social media warfare and subsequently his firing from the show.
M-Net’s response? “We do not want to be associated with a racist”.
Gareth’s lawyer Dali Mpofu fired back and argued that his axing was the worst form of racism, while M-Net’s Wim Trengove tried to convince the court that the broadcaster never had a contract with Cliff in the first place. The lawyer went on to say that Gareth had suffered the “worst form of discrimination” because he was white‚ while other Idols judges have made “offensive” remarks on social media but have not been fired for it.
Fast forward and we found ourselves with the lawsuit and Gareth suing M-Net for R25 million for defamation and breach of contract. Judge Caroline Nicholls said a contract did exist between Cliff and M-Net and that it should be honoured.
Auditions for Idols 2016 will begin at The Playhouse in Durban on Saturday. Gareth’s legal team said he would not take part in the pre-auditions on Saturday but will be at the main auditions scheduled for February 3.