Cell C was on the receiving end of a rather large kicking on social media yesterday after Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos was accused of making sexist remarks during a radio interview.
Dos Santos has acknowledged that his comments, which included saying “women have a ‘bitch-switch'” and that men shave and behave better when “you’ve got 12 gorgeous women and say four, five of them walk into your company”, were offensive.
Amid calls for his resignation, the company’s top female management has issued a statement, defending Dos Santos’ character while calling his wording “unfortunate”.
“Too often people stand by and allow things to happen to good people; and while we know we might face some criticism for our decision to stand beside our CEO; we as women in leadership positions at Cell C cannot allow someone to be solely judged for one unfortunate comment, while what he has done to empower women, both within and outside the company, goes unnoticed,” the statement reads.
In his reply to the social media backlash, Dos Santos said “I regret my choice of words which I realise were offensive.”
Cell C’s top female management agreed with his point, but added “what we know is that the public outrage he is facing for that regrettable choice of words has far outweighed what he has done for every employee in this company, particularly women.”
The management was referring to Cell C’s continued participation in the annual ‘Bring a Girl Child to Work’ day, and its support of the Miss SA pageant, for whom it provides an internship.
“We believe in ourselves collectively as a team of highly-skilled and highly-capable women and we are rightly recognised as such in this company. What we know is that we have all had far more opportunities to shine and be our best under his leadership. If this was not the case, we would not be here.”