"Glorifying Everything America" Has Locals Reeling Over E! Beyond The Red Carpet

Last week it was announced that tv presenters Minnie Dlamini and Katlego Maboe will take over the hosting mics from Bonang Matheba and her sidekicks when the E! Africa shoots its upcoming Beyond The Red Carpet coverage at the SAMAs in June. While many celebrated, industry insiders are still put off by the channel  and crew's alleged rude and obnoxious behaviour at the SAFTAs. 

Word around is that the NBCUniversal International Networks' E1 Africa production crew were observed at the SAFTAs being overtly aggressive and some of their producers were allegedly seen pushing people out of the way on the red carpet trying to "ensure" better side and background shots for their coverage for E! Beyond The Red Carpet which was hosted by Bonang and Maps. 

On the night few industry insiders muttered that the E! team had usurped the SAFTAs event; seemingly taking over the whole red carpet and leaving other crews scrambling for space and interviews. Needless to say, other crews covering the event were not happy.

Interestingly, the rude E! behaviour happened while the official SAFTAs presenters Somizi Mhlongo and Nadia Neophytou and crew were covering the event as a recorded and delayed-live broadcast on SABC2. How SABC and the production company allowed E! to "take over" remains a mystery. 

Talking to some industry colleagues what has emerged is the thought that South Africa's obsession with holding everything America above all might be the problem here. The E! brand is associated with the glamour of Hollywood, and while our local E! really has very little to do with Hollywood, many still regard having such brand as a privilege thus are willing to allow people to abuse that privilege. 

In the times of 90% local and #OpenUpTheIndustry, I am left wondering if the E! Beyond the Red Carpet crew will continue to be allowed to bulldoze our local crews at events. Allegedly. If indeed the E! crew feel that they are more special or important than say, RGB or VEntertainment, who is to blame for such flagrant disrespect to crews that have helped build the names of the people that E! is now shoving them out of the way to interview. 

On the other hand, one can argue that this is a competitive industry. Hollywood works because people there understand that they are competing for the best content and ratings. Perhaps we need that level of competitiveness in Mzansi to up the ante a bit. Our local industry has become a bit complacent and just accepts mediocrity.

If E! and its crew able to negotiate for better spots on the red carpet and are efficient enough to hog the best interviews with stars, can we really hold that against them? Should we not rather urge our local crews to up their game and be more efficient too? Perhaps this is just an issue of just who was better prepared. 

I am just relaying second hand info here so I can't pass any judgement on E! because I have not seen their alleged rude, dismissive and aggressive behaviour first hand. I do, however, believe that there must be a level of unfairness that may be afforded E! over everyone else. Simply because we all know how we swoon over Americans and the Brits here so it is not that unfathomable that there may very well be something to this allegations. 

All that said, it is up to us to look out for our own. We are responsible for allowing any outsider top come here and treat us bad. If there is a problem, we have to put a stop to it.

The big question is; will tempers flare in KZN on Saturday 4th June at the Durban ICC when E! records its latest episode; E! Beyond The Red Carpet: SAMAs? The behind-the-scenes red carpet drama might just be more entertaining than the actually celebrity interviews. Stay tuned!

E! Beyond the Red Carpet: SAMAs hosted by Katlego Maboe and Minnie Dlamini will air on E! on 7th June at 20h00. 

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