Public turns on Jacques Pauw over column peddling lies about V&A Waterfront arrest
Jacques Pauw has apologised and blamed intoxication and embarrassment for false allegations he made about his arrest at a V&A Waterfront restaurant recently, but social media users aren’t buying his apology.
Pauw, who is the author of The President’s Keepers, last week alleged in a column in the Daily Maverick that the restaurant had refused to allow him alternative means to settle his R1 600 bill after his credit card bounced several times while attempting pay, and intimated that it had instead called the police to arrest him while walking to an ATM.
He further alleged that the police had stolen his cash, before detaining him overnight and charging him with theft.
In a statement on Tuesday, Pauw backtracked on his original version and pointed out that he had wrongly created an impression that the restaurant’s management or the waiter who had served him had called the police to have him arrested, while he was the one who had misbehaved and had been intoxicated.
He said he had written the column after appearing before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on a charge of theft, which he said he still disputed.
“I wrote the article because I was emotional, angry, and humiliated by the entire experience,” Pauw said.
He said he had since realised “that there are errors in the article” after reflection and upon additional evidence.
“I had too much to drink in the restaurant and my memory was blurred. The ordeal of the experience of the arrest and having to spend the night in jail compounded my emotional state. I had a meeting with the restaurant owner and a conversation with a V&A executive this Monday. They showed and explained certain facts to me. I misbehaved and I wish to apologise for my behaviour,” he said.
On Tuesday, many well known journalists and social commentators slammed Pauw’s actions as a reflection of the privilege that comes with being a white male in South Africa and called on the Daily Maverick not to publish any more of his work.
A few sober thoughts on Jacques Pauw's druken lies:— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) February 17, 2021
1. If Jacques wasn't white and male, responses to his drunken ĺies would very likely NOT treat this as a morally or ethically "complex" situation. He'd be judged bluntly for blatantly lying.
Imagine if that was a black journalist, some of these media Monitoring Organisations would be up on arms, statements gallo and calling for disciplinary action. They would be tweeting like there is no tomorrow with SOME black editors who thrive at putting their own down.— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) February 16, 2021
@dailymaverick should never publish him again. It was an outrageous abuse. Outrageous. And it was a very poor judgment on their part to publish his personal drama in the first place— Carol Paton (@politicsblahbla) February 16, 2021
White man gets drunk & disorderly (at minimum), doesn’t pay & gets arrested. He gets angry (as they do) that the law also applies to him. He uses his journalistic power & white privilege to write an article lying about the entire ordeal including accusing the police of theft. I- https://t.co/xPA1nW4a7t— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) February 17, 2021
Condemning his disgusting behavior and shameful mendacity IS the right thing to do. For a number of reasons. The main one for me is because HE has made his name and built HIS brand on condemning lies and abuse. So we have a moral and professional duty to return the favour— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) February 16, 2021
Do you know how much it takes for the police to arrest a white man AND keep him over night, in general in the world? Even worse in SA? At the heart of whiteness, in Cape Town? And in the whitest of spaces, the Waterfront? Do you know how bad things have to be for that to happen? pic.twitter.com/rmZYaQQ8AY— Ntombiyo Mgqashiyo (@yomgqashiyo) February 16, 2021
Jacques Pauw used such magnificently flowery language to peddle lies. Mans said he was “dazed and stunned” and his gullible fans ate that up and sprung into action demanding to know the restaurant name and starting boycott hashtags 💀 https://t.co/Fse9j13A7j pic.twitter.com/n7OIx3b1dh— Sbudda Radebe (@EphraimSbudda) February 17, 2021
Whenever @SAEditorsForum's favourite crooks, liars and unethical journalists like @Jaqqs are found wanting, @sbungalwa and his group turn a blind eye. They did the same when @RanjeniM was exposed as a beneficiary of #SSA before celebrating her appointment by Min @tito_mboweni. 🤷♀️ https://t.co/bMBonpIzMA— Mr Putin (@pietrampedi) February 16, 2021
Where is @SAEditorsForum ? How could such a media delinquent be allowed to paddle lies so many times without consequences? Jacques Pauw is a liar and a huge risk to our democracy. Our parents didn’t suffer and die for this nonsense. #StateCaptureInquiry #JacquesPauw #StateCapture— Tshepo Matseba APR (@KabiniTshepo) February 17, 2021
Oh wow! In the face of grim tourism business. Your statement based on lies by #JacquesPauw discredited the restaurant, V &A Waterfront in the eyes of tourists who view your tweets. When you discover that he lied, you proceeded with gibberish instead of saying Ooop I spread lies🙆 https://t.co/b1M6LM00v0— Nompumelelo Mqwebu 🇿🇦 (@NompumeleloChef) February 17, 2021
I feel the issue is not so much "Is a journalist a flawed human being?" The answer is an obvious yes. The issue for me, is: Jacque has built his brand on holding society and power to a moral code that he has now failed to uphold. The censor, outrage & condemnation are deserved. https://t.co/OfybuSSrnE— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) February 17, 2021
In his column, Pauw had detailed how the cops, who he had described as “rogue elements within the SAPS”, had supposedly taken R1 000 from him during his arrest and failed to return it.
In his statement on Tuesday, Pauw indicated that the three policemen who had arrested him had not been called and that they were near the venue after attending to an unrelated incident, and that they had enquired what was going on.
“In the heat of the moment, I lost my cool and I acted in an impolite manner. My own action played a role in getting me arrested and detained. I have also established that the police officers did not take the R1 000 in cash I had with me. I was only provided with evidence on Monday,” he said.
He indicated that the restaurant owner was currently busy withdrawing the theft charge as he had paid his bill the following day.
“I feel embarrassed about my conduct. In this era of fake news, propaganda and lack of accountability, I must publicly accept responsibility. I must apologise for them,” he said.