Marie Claire editor Kate Wilson demands an apology after the Sowetan used the photograph of Mazwai, the daughter of former publisher Thami Mazwai, without permission on 22 February. It appeared alongside a story with the lead: “Red-blooded men are drooling over the nude photograph of Ntsiki Mazwai published in the March issue of Marie Clarie magazine”.
In the picture published in !_LT_EMSowetan!_LT_/EM, a black strip covered Mazwai’s pelvic area. In !_LT_EMMarie Claire,!_LT_/EM she appeared in the nude as part of a feature in which celebrities posed naked to raise awareness of Rape Crisis.
“The Sowetan has been very difficult on the matter. They know we do not have the budget to litigate. We asked them to either pay a usage fee or print a public apology. They agreed to print an apology, but they have not done so,” Wilson says.
Sowetan editor Thabo Leshilo, however, on Friday (30 May) claimed it was all a misunderstanding. “We did apologise in an email to them (Marie Claire) and they should have been paid the requested R5,000 usage fee in March. The fact that they were not paid was a mere accounting oversight and will be rectified,” he says.
Wilson disputes Leshilo’s claims. “We never invoiced them so of course they have not paid us. Leshilo’s just giving a sob story to try and make it go away. I don’t want R5,000. I want a written apology. The Sowetan‘s actions undermine our credibility because if we use other models in future, they could ask what guarantee they have the pictures won’t be used elsewhere (because of what happened with Mazwai’s pictures),” she says.
Leshilo again rejected Wilson’s claims on Monday (2 June) saying Associated Magazines (the publisher of Marie Claire in South Africa) asked for the money in an email. The email, dated 14 April, was forwarded to TheMediaOnline. In it, an Associated Magazines syndication manager requests R5,000 excluding VAT for publishing the photograph of Mazwai.
Leshilo says the Sowetan‘s accounts department has sent a request to Associated Magazines asking them for their banking details so that the payment can be made. R
“I will not print a public apology because I am not apologising to my readers. The issue is with Marie Claire magazine and I have already apologised to them in an email. My position for now is that they cannot charge me for having used the picture and then demand a public apology. We have already apologised to them in an email. Surely that should be enough,” he says.