BAD PRESS: A life lived in the limelight is no easy one. You have to be prepared for anything; criticism, fake stories and negative press. To live the celebrity life, you have to know how to deal with it all to enable your career blossom. Isaac Ssejjombwe spoke to some celebs about the worst stories ever written about them and how they dealt with them.
Judith Heard – Model/ Philanthropist
The story of me being denied a visa to Thailand over some ridiculous reason is one I will never forget. The story was written early this year and it was putting the Thailand consulate on the spot for allegedly denying me and other fellow Ugandan citizens’ visas because of human trafficking. One of the Ugandan bloggers had acquaintances among those that applied at the same time with me and she texted me about the matter. She was sure of my clean travel history and was wondering how the visa denial came about. I was shocked when she posted on social media about the issue and other bloggers twisted the information. It was sad and it disturbed me because I saw an entire human trafficking thread running on social media and some people believed I was denied the visa because of that. Others who trust the truthfulness in what I am and what I do did not buy the lies. I did not know the ambassador and I had nothing against her. I respected the Embassy decision to deny me a visa.
I consulted my legal team and they managed the matter. We confronted some bloggers, they apologised and pulled the stories down.
Toniks – Artiste
That I beat up Ray Signature
Last year, it was reported that I was in a fight with my friend Ray Signature in a parking lot somewhere over singer Irene Ntale.
At first I wondered if some journalists were mentally unhealthy but it was such a ridiculous story that we couldn’t help but laugh at it.
I have no idea where it all came from but I guess some journalist was trying to gain attention by creating controversy. Good thing is, it did not affect me in any way but I just hope that fans can see through the facade and tell facts from fiction in this age of misinformation. Because it did not affect me or anything, we didn’t take any action and since there was no evidence, the story faded.
Ykee Benda – artiste
That I was dating Rema
Back in 2018, there were rumours that I was dating Rema Namakula. This is perhaps because of our “Whistle” collaboration but it was all laughable and I just let the rumours be, just that. It had zero effect on my music because I knew my conscience was clear so I could not be affected in any way career wise. Maybe I made a few enemies and friends in the process.
Tindi – Comedian
That my father was my sugar daddy
In 2008, I got phone calls from so many concerned friends and family about a story that had run in Red Pepper. When I grabbed a copy to read, I was dumbfounded. It was a story saying my dad was not my father. That he was a sugar daddy and the man behind my brand new car. I think because he is White, they didn’t understand. I was so hurt because it was tarnishing, misinforming, false reporting and disrespecting my dad but I decided to just let it slide. You let fools stay fools or let lazy journalists stay foolish. Emotionally, I could not take legal action because I knew it would end in tears for some people, so I let it go. I was hurt regardless of the fact that it was a false story.
Karole Kasita – Artiste
I have not yet had people writing funny stories about me, but in July a funny blogger accused me of fighting with my boyfriend and throwing around profanities. It bothered me because I have never talked about having a boyfriend and I rarely discuss my status with the media. I was bothered by the lengths people go to tarnish someone’s name. I was saddened by some comments from my fans who said they were disappointed in me but knowing that I didn’t do it, I decided to ignore the story. I was very angry at first, so I talked to my lawyer and he filed a formal report with Uganda Communications Commission while my manager reached out to the blogger to avail their source. But because I did not comment on the story, somehow it died out, so my lawyer advised that we let it rest.
Kapa cat – Artiste
That I was dating someone’s husband
So many strange stories have been written about my lifestyle, my music, my body tattoos, but the story about me dating a random hajj and having a bitter fight with one of his wives was a total scam from an unknown attention seeker.
I woke up one morning to disturbing texts from so many media people asking me what was going on and if I was safe. Looking through my phone, there was a video of a covered hajjat screaming at the top of her voice about how I am a husband snatcher, threatening to expose me and my dirty games. The video trended and had every gossip show talking and firing back at the impersonator. A few days later, this anonymous woman lined up posters of me with the message “Kapa Cat Leave my husband alone” all over the main city suburbs.
I was traumatised by the whole series of events happening so fast; my family buzzed my phone day in day out. My male friends started to give me some space, fearing they would be quoted as the anonymous hajj in the story I lost a few Muslim male friends.
The hajjat, meanwhile, was serious and was willing to invest in her lie and the media and social media had a field day.
The posters with my face plastered all over the city made me open up a case with CID and cyber police, who asked me to handle myself with care for the next three months as they studied the situation.
Two weeks later, my manager got a call from the CID office in Kibuli with a location of the person who was doing this and the person was charged – the details I have been advised not to share with the public. However, this person is still paying for the damages caused.
DJ Nimrod – Radio presenter
That I had neglected my family
I remember when a tabloid paper did a story that I was no longer looking after my family. That I had abandoned them for a luxurious lifestyle. I was a bit hurt because my family is something I would not wake up and abandon, not even stop looking after them. Family means so much to me but the picture they portrayed was so negative.
I did not take any legal action or whatsoever but just decided to ignore the whole story.
I was hurt but knowing the truth, I kept cool and things passed.
Angella Katatumba – Artiste
That I was a prostitute and wasn’t paying for dresses
There are so many stories and rumors of me dating several men but the strangest was in 2015. I used to do my shopping out of Uganda but when I decided to give chance to some Ugandan dressmakers, it turned out to be a terrible move. I ordered six dresses and paid cash. Unknown to me, a writer with one of the tabloids was in the shop and took my number, because he wanted to interview me for some stories. A few days later, he calls and says someone wanted to write about me not paying for the dresses and he says he would handle it because he was there seeing me pay. In fact I even sent him pictures of the receipts. Three days later, I was on the front page with a big headline ‘Angella fails to pay for dresses’ and it was his byline. About a month or two later, the same writer calls me again and says someone wanted to write another story that Jack Pemba pay to sleep with me for $20,000 (about Shs75m) at Hotel Diplomat. He asked for my quote and I told him it was not true and that Jack Pemba has never even stepped at Hotel Diplomat, despite us being friends. He said he would kill the story. Three days later, the front page had me and Pemba sleeping together and misquoting me. We sued the writer and the paper as well and settled the case out of court. I was paid, although I cannot disclose the figures.
The stories written about me do not affect me but had I left him to continue with the channel he was taking, this man was becoming a problem.
Feffe Bussi – Rapper
That I was creating beef
When I released “Who is Who”, I received a lot of criticism from both the media and general public.
They said it was so wrong for an artiste to throw jibes at another artiste. They said so many things, including that I was responsible for creating unnecessary beef at a time when the industry was on the route to unity.
It somehow affected me because some of my fans thought the same but they later learnt that no harm was intended. I did a couple of interviews here and there explaining that throwing jibes is part of hip hop.
And fortunately, others also jumped on the track, which instead hyped up the industry.
Daggy Nyce – TV presenter
That I treasured a Visa over my child
When my daughter was born, a gossip paper in Kampala wrote that I had sealed my plan of getting a visa by impregnating my wife. I found that so strange and very disrespectful. It meant that I was not happy about my baby but happy for the visa.
I went on Twitter and Facebook, took screenshots of the story and shared it on the tabloid’s accounts. I asked them to have some courtesy in their writing and be sensitive. What puzzled me was that I had been a traveller before, so this showed that the writer was an amateur.
Good thing is that it never had any effect on me or my career, so I let it pass.
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