Cape Town - DJ Euphonik and global media and talent group Celebrity African Services are squaring up in the Western Cape High Court over the popular DJ’s Facebook account.
The musician, whose real name is Themba Mbongeni Nkosi, is claiming in court papers that Celebrity African Services unlawfully deprived him of possession of his Facebook page. He is demanding the agency “restore the applicant’s administrative rights to the page known as Euphonik DJ”.
He is also demanding that Celebrity African Services “restore any deleted content”.
Other demands include interdicting the agency from directly or indirectly “removing or interfering with the applicant’s access and administrative rights to the Facebook page, not publishing the Facebook page, deleting/removing or otherwise interfering or tampering with the content (published or otherwise) on the Facebook page, the costs of the application to be paid by the respondent and further and/or alternative relief”.
The drama started on March 25, when Euphonik was in the US and was unable to gain access to his page and his 600000 Facebook followers, after, according to him, Celebrity African Services removed him as co-administrator of the page.
With headquarters in Cape Town and Beverly Hills and affiliated offices in Lagos and Paris, Celebrity African Services has established itself as one of Africa’s leading talent agencies with clients including the likes of Bonang Matheba and Boitumelo (Boity) Thulo.
Charl Coetzee, the agency’s attorney, told Weekend Argus Euphonik owes the agency R12million and that there was a breach of agreement that set off the deactivation of the Facebook page.
In his founding affidavit, Euphonik claims: “I was until March 25 2018 in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the Facebook page, and the respondent wrongfully and unlawfully deprived me of such possession.”
Euphonik and the agency entered into an artist agent agreement on October 26 where Celebrity African Services was required to represent him as his agent and the agreement was to remain in place until October 15, last year.
Under the terms of the agreement, the firm would be entitled to 20% of all gross earnings for musical performances in South Africa, 30% of international performances and 30% of all brand and commercial endorsements.
He is adamant that the Facebook page was never the property of Celebrity African Services and that the agency transferred the page’s ownership into its name without his consent at the end of 2016.
“The reason given was that it required ownership of the account for purposes of marketing myself/my global brand.
“I have established that this was a material misrepresentation and patently untrue,” said Euphonik in his affidavit.
The relationship between the parties started to sour in April last year and has been described in court papers as a result of “a breakdown in the business relationship due to failures by the respondent to comply with its obligations”.
The agreement was terminated on June 5 last year.
Euphonik has been trying to reclaim his Facebook page since April 26 last year.
“I am a brand ambassador and generate substantial revenue through marketing campaigns utilising my social media platforms and more specifically the Facebook page, thus ‘unpublishing’ the Facebook page has deprived my business and access to my 600000 followers and the general public as well as their access to me and my global brand,” he said.
The agency’s attorney, Coetzee, claims Euphonik owes the company for work done on the Facebook page.
“We have been trying since 2017 to settle the matter with him and now it has finally ended up in court,” said Coetzee.
Euphonik’s attorney, Lee Binneman, from Schindlers Attorneys, Conveyancers, Notaries in Joburg, disputes the payment claims, saying the initial agreement between Euphonik and Celebrity African Services made no provision for payment in respect of work performed on the Facebook page.
In his affidavit, Euphonik stresses that the payment claim by Celebrity African Services is a separate matter and that the matter before court only relates to him being deprived of access to his Facebook page.
It is Euphonik’s contention that Celebrity African Services used the removal of his administrative rights as a mechanism to persuade him into making payment of a debt that is clearly disputed.
According to the court papers, the DJ stresses that his Facebook page was “verified”, a status only given when you reach a certain amount of followers. “In this regard, the Facebook page was verified before the conclusion of the agreement,” said Euphonik.
Binneman said the judge was expected to make a ruling in the next week or two.