Mobile network Cell C faced a barrage of comments and complaints on Tuesday afternoon, after it was reported that CEO Jose Dos Santos seemingly made some sexist remarks during a radio interview.
Dos Santos, being interview on CliffCentral, said (among other things) “you know women have a bitch switch, and boy if you see two women fighting, it is worse than two men.”
This sparked an outcry on social media platforms, leaving Cell C and Dos Santos to quickly clarify the point, while acknowledging that what he said was offensive.
“I regret my choice of words which I realise were offensive,” Dos Santos said in a media statement issued on Tuesday night.
However, he was quick to add that it his comments as reported on in the media was taken out of context.
“As a CEO with a strong track record in the empowerment of female employees, in South Africa and in many other African countries that I have worked in, I am saddened that my stance has been taken out of context,” he added.
Dos Santos explained that the comment he made, when asked about women empowerment was part of a broader interview about leadership on CliffCentral.
“I mentioned that in my experience, I have seen instances where women do not support each other to get to the top. This has purely been my observation and perhaps one of several reasons why women are underrepresented in leadership positions.
This is not an environment that was created by women, but one that has been entrenched in the general workplace. And that is why I have put a lot of effort and focus into the empowerment of all employees, but particularly women at Cell C,” he ended off.