Things you need to know about the latest Bell Pottinger developments
Things you need to know about the latest Bell Pottinger developments
We live in an era where we seem to seek the news we want to read or to believe
07 September, 2017, 02:00
Bank of Ireland is reassessing its United Kingdom public relations agency contract with Bell Pottinger, after the PR firm lost high-profile clients and was expelled from a key industry association in London as a result of work it carried out in South Africa on a racially-charged campaign.
The accusations relate to Bell Pottinger's relationship with Oakbay, a company controlled by the wealthy Gupta family of Indian-born businessmen, which has widely been accused of exerting undue influence over South African president Jacob Zuma.
Temasek corporate communications chief Stephen Forshaw also confirmed that his company was no longer a client of Bell Pottinger's, as the industry rapidly moves to distance itself from the firm.
The Bell Pottinger spokesman added that the firm would implement "strong measures to scrutinise work and build strong best practice culture".
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The campaign portrayed opponents of Mr Zuma as agents of "white monopoly capital", with slogans referring to "economic apartheid".
An office building containing the London headquarters of the PR company Bell Pottinger is seen behind an entrance to an underground train station in London, September 5, 2017.
PRCA director general Francis Ingham condemned the firm's work on the South Africa contract as "reprehensible".
The expulsion came into effect on Tuesday for a minimum of five years, after which the firm can reapply.
It said the South Africa campaign was not representative "of the way it works in general" and it would continue to abide by the PRCA's code of ethics.
In a statement, Bell Pottinger said it accepted there were lessons to be learned from its South Africa campaign but disputed "the basis on which the (PRCA) ruling was made". "I think the decline is terminal". We find it inconceivable that an entire nation learnt of how Bell Pottinger was able to engineer a misleading and deceitful PR campaign that would further the aims of a private family (the Guptas) to benefit from state capture, while senior management were seemingly oblivious to this conduct for so long. He said while he had ultimate responsibility for Bell Pottinger, he had been "misled" over the campaign by colleagues.
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