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IDC wins in dispute over 'racist' gorilla movie

Publish date: 06 August 2018
Issue Number: 785
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has emerged victorious in a lengthy legal dispute centred on a 'racist' movie, Vanilla Gorilla. The Labour Appeal Court ruled in favour of the IDC in the matter initially brought by one of the corporation's managers, Tracey Roscher, notes Times Select. The IDC had provisionally agreed to invest R189m to produce the movie, but pulled the plug after discovering that Roscher, who recommended the investment, had not disclosed the National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) damning comments and had misled it in other ways. Roscher was then fired but challenged the 'unfair dismissal' at the CCMA and won. The IDC appealed in the Labour Court and won and now the Labour Appeal Court has also ruled in the corporation's favour, saying Roscher was guilty of 'at the very least, a grossly negligent and misleading breach of fiduciary duty'. The court said Roscher's conduct 'fell way below par and severely damaged trust to the point that a continued employment relationship became intolerable'. James Bond star Pierce Brosnan and Danny Glover were to have starred in the movie. The IDC had learnt that the script about an albino ape being returned to the wild in Rwanda was racist and patronising, and that Roscher had misled it about a commitment from Walmart in the US to buy 1.2m DVD copies for R209m. Acting appeal Judge John Murphy said she did not disclose NFVF advice, which said: '(The film) probably will not do well on SA screens because of its obviously patronising characterisation of Africa ... It is very hard to think of ways to make this story less patronising and racist given the point of departure for these writers.'

Full Times Select report