After award-winning US actress Taraji P Henson called an ad for an upcoming women’s event taking place in Sandton “false”, the International Women In Media Conference has explained that they paid her and have a contract to feature her as a guest speaker.
21st Century Media had said the event “serves as a platform to empower and inspire media professionals, entrepreneurs and budding media moguls on how to turn their passion into profit”.
Bonang Matheba subsequently announced her withdrawal from a bill that also supposedly included Connie Ferguson and other US megastar actor Halle Berry and US singer Ashanti.
Henson said on her official Twitter account that she was being included in a false advert and asked that her name be removed from it.
In a statement released late on Wednesday night, the 21st Century Group said it was “highly concerned and deeply disappointed by the recent social media posts made by Taraji Henson wherein she alleges not having knowledge of the International Women in Media Conference scheduled to take place on 5 September 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre”.
They claimed prior arrangements were indeed made with Henson’s agents, the Superstar Agency, “whereby a contract was concluded between 21st Century Group and the latter, only upon confirmation of Ms. Henson’s attendance at the event.
“It was our reasonable expectation, as is the normal protocol in these situations, that the agency had been liaising with Ms. Henson’s manager.
“A deposit was also paid to Superstar Agency as a matter of enforcing and complying with the said contract on the part of 21st Century Group.
“Written confirmation was received by 21st Century Group from Ms. Henson’s agents of her attendance and participation at the event.”
They said they had now handed the matter over to their New York legal team to investigate whether there was miscommunication between Henson’s agent and manager, “or whether this was a deliberate attempt to breach the contract that was signed by the respective parties”.
They said their initiative was not intended to generate an income or profit for their company and Henson had been “identified as one of the key participants as she is globally admired for her strengths as a woman in the industry”.
“We reiterate our disappointment in the manner in which this matter has come to the fore and without our knowledge through formal channels. The event will, however, still go on as scheduled.”
They said it would remain a non-ticketed event, by invitation only. The Citizen.