Doctor and Renegade Report podcaster Jonathan Witt took to Twitter on Thursday to indicate that he had raised enough money to cover journalist Barry Bateman’s salary, following his suspension from EWN without pay for calling Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema a “p**s”.
“I have deleted my tweet about the crowdfunding for [Bateman]. A target has been reached which is in line with his monthly salary, and as a result, no further funds are required. Thank you to everyone who so generously contributed,” he tweeted.
Malema reacted by retweeting a post from a Twitter user who lashed out at News24 for reporting on the crowdfunding campaign.
“So @News24 can’t report on the fundraising of the [public protector] but jump to popularise the funding of a white man used racist and sexist comment on a black politician (sic)? WTF,” said the tweet shared by the EFF leader.
Bateman apologised for using the slur, which appears to have been caught on camera by accident in a clip from news channel Newzroom Afrika, which went viral on social media.
“My friend, and journalist, @barrybateman has been suspended without pay following an incident last month for which he has apologised. If you’re able to help him make ends meet this month please consider making a donation,” Witt tweeted alongside the journalist’s banking details.
He earlier expressed anger at Bateman’s suspension and at the apology, which he believes the journalist was coerced into giving by the channel.
“So it appears as if EWN forced an apology out of Barry Bateman, they dare not piss off their friends in the EFF. An apology to a bunch of fascists is one thing, suspending a top journalist who has a family to support without pay is another entirely. Sad state of affairs.”
Following the initial incident, Witt used his Twitter platform to allege that the clip was “purposefully” leaked and that the response to it was “orchestrated”.
“I am not a journalist, but a little citizen journalism led to a reliable source disclosing that the Bateman clip was purposefully released, and the response orchestrated,” he tweeted.
“You’d think the real journalists would investigate this instead of just buying the surface narrative.”
Multiple requests for evidence of Witt’s claim were not responded to.