Stellenbosch mall removes Oscar Pistorius poster after resident complains
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Cape Town – A billboard promoting a controversial documentary about convicted killer Oscar Pistorius has been removed by Stellenbosch Square Mall Centre management after a woman decried it for being insensitive to victims of domestic violence.
Pistorius was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017 for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot four times through the bathroom door of their home on Valentine's Day.
“As I was approaching the mall on Wednesday, this huge billboard of Oscar was smack bang in my face,” said Jolene Samuels.
“To make matters worse, it was a picture of him crying in court, as if to make us sympathise with him. The people who deserve our sympathy are Reeva's parents.
’’It felt like an insult to us as a society and us as women, not to mention all the deceased women who lost their lives at the hands of their partners.
“It didn't sit right with me, but I was not sure if I was overreacting so I took a picture and posted it on social media and many people agreed that it was in poor taste.”
That's when she decided to call the billboard company, SB Outdoor, which she said would not take responsibility.
“I then called the centre manager and explained to her why it was offensive,” said Samuels.
The same day the centre had the billboard replaced with a welcome sign.
“I went to check and I called the centre manager to thank her.”
Stellenbosch Square Mall Centre manager Liezl Stals said: “We rent out that space, the billboard belongs to SB advertising. We just receive a portion of the advertising. However, we do have a condition that they must not put up anything offensive to the public.
“We didn't realise the impact this would have as we have so much going on. We just thought it was a promotion for the documentary retelling what happened.
“Then we got a few calls about the billboard. After the first call I immediately called the advertising agency to have it removed as it reflects badly on us as a centre.”
SB Outdoor, responsible for the billboard, did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.
The trailer for the Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius, a four-part documentary series recounting Pistorius's fall from grace, was removed by the BBC following public outcry for allegedly putting him in a favourable light and not mentioning Steenkamp by name.
In South Africa, the documentary premiered on ESPN on November 18.