Calling Expats

And no, I’m not getting into the “immigrant” v “expat” debate on this.

But this is a blog of an expat (immigrant) (stop it), and it is read by expats (immigrants) (I’m warning you…) so I do get these sort of requests every now and again.

I’m sharing this:

My name is Joe Pinzone and I’m casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We’d love to film in South Africa and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The contributors on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone @ Looking forward to hearing from you.

Joe Pinzone
Casting Producer
P: 212-231-7716
Skype: Joefromnyc

I don’t have time to check everything out on this particular email, but suffice to say that it passes the basic “is this genuine?” tests. Joe does exist and he does work for a company that makes this sort of show.

Quite how he intends to place the country in a fabulous light, given the recent publicity (FIFA, Nkandla, Xenophobia!) I’m not sure, but Joe is a wizard at his job and I have no doubts that he’ll do his best. And yes, again given the recent publicity, just be careful with “monetary compensation” going between and America and South Africa. Never forget, #WeDoNotBribe, ok?

If this is you, or if it’s someone you know, why not pass it or get in touch with Joe and take things from there? After all, what have you got to lose?*

* Credibility, privacy, potentially your residence permit if it all goes wrong. 

The Times they aren’t a-changin’

The pisspoor Times newspaper today shouts from the rooftops (or at least the streetlight poles) that an SA woman has “pulled a Huntley”, suggesting that she – like much-documented all-round nice guy and alleged racially-motivated crime victim, Brandon Huntley – has garnered refugee status in a foreign land claiming that the black people in South Africa are picking on her because she is white.

A South African woman has been granted a five-year residency permit in Ireland after testifying she feared “criminal racial discrimination” if she returned.

Which all sounds horribly familiar after the Huntley case – until one actually reads the story.

Dianne Jefferson is 22 and left SA when she was 14 years old. She has no family in SA, her father is married to an Irish citizen and she has a half-sister who is Irish.
Oh – and she is married to an Irishman.

So exactly like Huntley in every regard except her age, sex, her family situation, her marriage and er… all the other circumstances mentioned, then.

The Huntley saga prompted huge debate across all forms of media and amongst the citizens of South Africa and those abroad. It divided the country into those who believe that his claims were valid and those who knew they were bullshit. Everyone was desperate to keep abreast of the story and, as is to be expected, the media spun it out as long as possible in an effort to encourage more readers.
This appears to just be another attempt to piggy-back a few more sales onto that old story.

But yes, there are those three words: “criminal racial discrimination” which are mentioned as part of her submission to the court and which really have no basis or reason for being there, but then as her lawyer explains:

Dianne reads papers and is aware of the violent crime and rapes in the country and with no support structure she feels she is at a greater risk.

All of which serves as a perfect example of how the papers can blow things out of all proportion in order to sell their product as long as there are people willing to buy it (the story and the paper). 

I would really love someone to explain to me why this is a story – especially one warranting front-page attention.

EDIT: Dianne Jefferson comments on this story:

I believe the media spun my case out of control. I did not even want it in the papers in the first place. I have very fond memories of growing up in South africa. Iam married to an Irish citizen and I was trying to get a 5 year visa, which I now have. If I was to be deported, which I have not been. It would have been very hard for me to survive on my own in a country I left at a very young age.

Interesting, hey?

EDIT 2: The Times editor Ray Hartley tweets a thank you.