#IamAshwinWillemse say South Africans after SuperSport walkout
Cape Town - Messages of support have poured in for Ashwin Willemse after he walked off the set of a live SuperSport TV broadcast on Saturday night after a verbal clash with Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.
It is unclear what angered Willemse, who was a fellow analyst for the Super Rugby match between the Lions and the Brumbies, to such an extent that he decided to leave the studio while on air.
In video clips posted on social media, Willemse mentioned that he was “not going to be patronised by two individuals who played in apartheid”, referring to Mallett and Botha, who were Springboks in the 1980s.
Willemse has not yet responded to requests for comment from IOL Sport.
SuperSport posted on Twitter: “SuperSport is aware of the on-air incident and is looking into the matter. SuperSport views this incident in a serious light - we will conduct a full investigation and interview all relevant individuals.”
On social media, South Africans showed support for Willemse using the hashtags #IamAshwinWillemse and #HandsOffAshwinWillemse, and many related their own stories. People also changed their profile picture to that of the former Springbok wing.
— Rorisang Tshabalala (@roritshabalala) May 19, 2018
— Iman Rappetti (@imanrappetti) May 20, 2018
— Herman Wasserman (@hwasser) May 19, 2018
— Echbert Boezak (@EchbertB) May 20, 2018
— Portia Moemedi (@pookiportia) May 19, 2018
— Nobleman (@WayneHarper_) May 19, 2018
— Bongani Bingwa - Broadcast Journalist (@bonglez) May 19, 2018
A Facebook post on the issue by journalist and commentator Bobby Brown was shared nearly 1000 times:
Some said the ball was now in SupersSport's court and they would be watching closely to see how the channel handled the incident.