The conference was marred by controversy on Wednesday when its international headlining speaker, Taraji P Henson labelled it “fake”.
Halle Berry has responded to initial reports that she would be attending the International Women in Media conference, which is set to take place on 5 and 6 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Within hours of the line-up announcement, the Empire actress denied her involvement on Twitter, saying: “False! I will not be there. Never heard of this event and was never invited. Please remove my name from this event because it is false.”
Shortly after Taraji’s tweets her name, as well as fellow Hollywood actress Halle Berry’s name, was removed from the program. Halle Berry broke her silence on Saturday, saying she knows nothing about the event and will not be attending.
She further called the organisers of the event “shameful” and thanked Taraji for pointing out that they would not be attending.
alle’s response comes after event organisers, 21st Century Group, responded to Taraji’s allegations saying they have signed contracts to prove that the TV star was booked for the event.
The organisers added that they have filed a lawsuit against the agency who they claim booked Taraji, Superstar Agency, as well as Taraji and Halle’s alleged management, 42West “to be able to verify who has misled 21st Century Group in confirming that the booking was made.”
42West has now responded to comments about their involvement, saying there is absolutely no truth to any of the claims made against them. A spokesperson for the company said in a statement that 42West does not represent Taraji, adding that it is not even a management firm.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE:“There is absolutely no truth to any of the claims regarding 42West that you attribute to 21st Century Group. To begin with, 42West is not a management firm and we have certainly never been Taraji P Henson’s management. Moreover, we have never signed any contracts on behalf of Taraji P Henson nor is there anyone at 42West named John. Finally, to our knowledge, no legal action has been filed against 42West with regard to this matter.”
In the meantime, ticket sales for the women’s conference have been halted and those who have already purchased tickets will be refunded. The conference is still due to take place but will now be on an invite-only basis.
After being confirmed as MC of the event and recording a video in support of it, local celebrity Bonang Matheba withdrew from the conference.
Julie Schulte, 21st Century Group sales director later said that “once we re-open the marketing strategy they [Bonang] will come back onboard because they support the initiative of woman empowerment.”
Bonang’s PR team, however, have not confirmed this.