Thursday, 28 October 2010

My response to the model auditioning "company"

The full text of my response, names removed.
Many thanks for your letter to me and to The Voice regarding the article I wrote recently that covered the "audition" that you held at Riverwalk Shopping Centre.

I'm sorry that you were disappointed by the coverage you received and by the comments I made. However I fear I'm likely to disappoint you further by standing by the comments and not retracting them. I do not believe they were derogatory, incorrect or warrant correction.

My comments were, in fact, based on research I undertook when we first received the enquiry from the sister of one of your participants. I maintain that requiring potential contestants to pay P250 for a t-shirt, a piece of paper, further participation and "a modeling lesson" of unknown quality and accreditation is suspicious for various reasons.

Firstly, I would normally assume that as an organisation offering "modeling lessons" you would be registered with BOTA but it seems you are not. Indeed further research suggests that [Company name] (or any company with a similar name) is not even registered with the Registrar of Companies in Botswana. Can you confirm if you are registered under another name? I have not yet checked whether you are registered with the Botswana Unified Revenue Service yet. Perhaps you can confirm whether you are? You also do not appear in the BTC telephone directory which I find curious for a "company" that has been running these competitions since last year.

The second suspicion related to the initial letter of enquiry we received. Our reader's younger sister was apparently invited by SMS to pay P250 for the further "selection". When she returned with her elder sister and another sister who had also participated in the initial audition at Riverwalk, the other younger sister was also invited, on the spot, to pay P250 to take things further, despite not being invited further initially. I think this calls into question the quality or validity of the assessment and selection mechanism you use.

However, my response to the enquiry that was published in The Voice did not cover your "company" and didn't even mention it by name. Instead it focussed on IMTA. There has been enough criticism of IMTA from several countries and their requirement for entrants to pay to enter their competitions that I think reporting on the criticism is perfectly valid. I believe that requiring potential contestants to pay several thousand dollars to participate is not typical of the modeling industry regardless of your claims about the initial auditions and competitions in Botswana and South Africa.

In summary I do not believe that my comments were either "derogatory", "uncalled for" or "unsubstantiated" and nor were they based on "personal assumptions". I see no need to retract anything that I wrote.



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