Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Genevieve update

The following text appeared in yesterday's Nigeria Guardian:

The Genevieve magazine has apologised for a portion of the March 2007 edition which indicated support for discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Its publisher, Mrs. Betty Irabor, in a press statement disclosed that the offensive article was meant to canvass a contrary opinion. She blamed the error on production mix-up and took "full responsibility" for the publication.

She said: "I wrote the article to illuminate this issue and it ended up having the opposite effect because of editorial slip."

This text throws more darkness than light on the whole saga. There is a world of difference between a 'production mix-up' and an 'editorial slip'. The former implies there was a technical issue (the wrong draft got published for example), the latter implies a problem with the content itself (in its approved final version). Note that nowhere was there a direct apology for any offence caused - the statement that Genevieve magazine 'has apologised' implies a prior act of apology has already taken place. This is a not-too-clever way of avoiding saying in the press 'Genevieve magazine apologises for any offense caused.' This damage limitation exercise itself threatens to cause further damage. Perhaps they should change their PR people(!)

As well as a full feature dispelling the myths of HIV and promoting a loving/caring attitude to PLWA in the next issue, it seems that another article on eyebrow care - threading/waxing in preference to blades - is also required ;-)


liar liar pants on fire,  3:18 pm  

"Mistakes were made but its not my fault. It's no one's fault actually. No one is to blame. Hand on heart, I did what I thought, at the time, was the best thing to do. And that makes it ok."

Uh oh. Looks like someone's been taking lessons from Downing Street.

loomnie 3:34 pm  

Now I am really angry with Mrs. Irabor. What is wrong with her? What kind of game is she playing? Whatever it is seems destined to get her in more trouble than she can imagine.

2plus2 4:41 pm  

Nna, na wa o!!! I saw it yesterday and she clearly has made several apologies to divergent audiences.

Refinedone 9:20 pm  

..I think who ever is advicing her is doing a bad job...I think she should take a leaf from the "jade Goody" experience (BB,UK)
...Those that have made her i.e. buy her magazine are the same ppl she is disrespecting with this attitude...
pride they say goes before the fall!
She is one woman i trully admired in Nigeria and now she is losing her shiny and respect I have her.

AbujaBabe 1:45 am  

Mrs Betty Irabor has a fantastic medium to educate but she abused this voice when she spouted out such IGNORANT GARBAGE!

As for that letter she calls an apology to me it's just a load of self rightious crap with undertones of pure arogance!


Please can you check my blog to read and sign the protest letter (if you have not done so already) For the Nigerian boy who was killed whilst being deported from spain back to naija.

Ciao hun..xx

Anonymous,  8:14 am  

I was always suspicious about the "apology" to start with. I had actually bought and read the magazine the afternoon before your first comments on it and had though hmm- typical Naija big girl attitude. Does not matter the fate that befalls others as long as I and my family are okay. She can apologise all she wants but I suspect what came out was the truth.There was no "technical" hiccup.

I "apologise" in advance if I am mistaken.

Cheetarah 11:53 am  

Thankyou Jeremy for having an unbaised view of this whole thing. I read Bella blog and left a comment, but admist the protest alot of people kept making excuses for Betty Irahbor, it just got too irritating 'Oh if only you knew aunty betty, o Betty isnt like this'
When u make a mistake be 'man' enuff to admit it. Lesson 1 in PR, be honest and admit you made a mistake dont ce la vie us- thats the number 1 way to make a brand fail.
Didnt her PR learn any thing from Exxon mobile or McDonald Libel suit, presuming that they are actual real Pr people! Shez Lucky she lives in Nigeria, coz if she was here she would loose mag subs faster than u can say H-I-V. In PR, public perception is everything Mrs Irabhor, dont ever forget that!
Anyhoo Im sure shez aware of this, and she just proved what I tot: she aint sorry, she just doesnt want to loose her customers.
Here an unpaid idea, to show how sorry u are for the 'production mistake' how about throwing a 'red' ball and let it all go to the new charity u are gonna set up as a result of all of this.
And contrary to the believe that all publicity is good, this just shows that its not so. U shd have just stuck with the letter u circulated on the net and printed the same thing.

Oh my! I just gave all this pr stuff away for free,lol. U need to hire me Madam!

Jola Naibi 4:39 pm  

I think a lot of people fail to realize that it is not about Betty Irabor. I don't know her personally and have no opinion on her character. It has more to do with the impact of what she wrote and its potential to create issues for people who are living with AIDS. A lot of people seem to be defending her and they are losing the point completely. It is not a personal attack on her. If there are people reading what she wrote and forming opinions based on that and thereby acting on those opinions by creating difficulties for people living with AIDS then we will have a huge problem on our hands. Among other things, people would refuse to know their serostatus fearing the consequences. I have said before that she can turn this around and do a special on reduction of the stigma associated with HIV infection. She can use her magazine as a platform to inform people. I also read her apology and it left a lot to be desired...like a lot of people she seems to think it is about her when frankly speaking it is not about her.

Kpakpando 7:47 pm  

what the? production mix-up? she really needs to just stop now she's behind, all this backtracking is nauseating

Anonymous,  12:35 am  

It is interesting Jeremy that you are the only one keeping this Geneive story going. Does it mean that Nigerians or is it Naijabloggers cannot mount a sustain critique on what is clearly wrong? If Naija bloggers are really truly concern about HIV issues, should they not put up a united front to ensure that the pressure is on for Betty Iragbor? Her rejoiner in the Nigerian newspaper is a joke and unnecessary. Shows somebody who is sincere and not at all remorseful about what she has done. Like somebody said if this happened in the West, there will be a full scale campaign to boycott the magazine.

Regina A,  10:00 am  

Ok so what do you guys want to do to her now? crucify her? well...go ahead if that suits you. I wonder if forgivness would ever exist if humans were God.

Kpakpando 6:12 am  

regina, she's crucifying herself, she needs help from nobody else. Her words and actions speak loud enough for her. If you made a mistake and have been called on it, then own up to it once and for all, all this back tracking and blaming production makes her look bad... you feel for her good for you, still doesn't excuse her poor and tactless actions or behavior.

Alero,  11:14 pm  

It is interesting that people are saying that because she has apologised we should let sleeping dog lie. What this minor incident shows is typical Nigerian apathy. We have no staying power. We cannot mount and sustain a campaign so that we see desirable result. Just take look at the strike - after 3 days, people are already suggesting it should be called off. We give in too quickly, we say well they have apologised, or they have decided to reduce the price oil a little bit lower than the proposed amount. We carry on and nothing changes. We wonder why nothing ever changes in that country.

Betty has not really apologised, she has made overtures towards an apology. Her apparent apology is not what is really important, what is is the idea of an apology been made rather than offering an apology. So I think more pressure should be mounted on her to do something and provide a proper apology. I say this not because I have anything personal against Betty, but we need to use her mistake to raise and discus this very important issue.

Anonymous,  4:45 pm  

Betty Irabor has always been the unsympathetic, missy-good-shoes woman she has come out to be in this article. Unlike her husband she is hard and unconcerned about feeling of real people who buy her mag. The woman couldn't care less about what was said that is ticking readers off! As for her so-called apology, she knows where she can stuff that!

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