When news broke of the Bishops sex scandal, it was only a matter of time until international media outlets started picking up on it.
Those of us who are forced to keep an eye on outlets like the Daily Mail knew it was a story they would lap up, and over the weekend, the first report emerged.
Whereas most South African reporting was quick to name Nick Mallett as Fiona Viotti’s uncle, there’s a rather different take from the British perspective.
Sure, Nick still gets a mention, but it’s Fiona’s brother and his relationship that dominates the headline:
The model-turned-history teacher who quit an elite South African school after having a sexual relationship with at least one pupil is the ‘sister-in-law’ of Lady Amelia Spencer, it can be revealed today…
Fiona – who married venture capitalist Pavo Viotti just last year – is the daughter of Dave Mallett and has a brother named Greg Mallett…
Greg is in a long-term relationship with Lady Amelia Spencer, daughter of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. She is Princess Diana’s niece.
Lady Amelia met Greg while studying at the University of Cape Town – the city where she grew up with twin sister Lady Eliza Spencer – and the pair have been dating for the last nine years.
While they are not married, Lady Kitty Spencer – Amelia’s sister – has in the past referred to Greg as her ‘big brother’ and he is considered to be part of the family.
The Daily Mail also features a number of different images to the same three or four that keep popping up in local reports.
Another UK-based outlet, The Times, has a report that talks of South Africa’s “wealthy white elite”:
A sex scandal at one of South Africa’s most prestigious private schools allegedly involving a female water polo coach, explicit videos and “several boys over a number of years” has shaken the country’s wealthy white elite.
Fiona Viotti, 30, a former model, resigned from her posts as history teacher and sports coach at the boys-only Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town after it announced an investigation into her alleged “serious sexual misconduct”.
The Sun, which is perhaps the biggest rag of them all, went with a salacious headline, as was to be expected.
If you’re after the latest update, here’s IOL:
Bishops matric pupils embroiled in a sex scandal involving former teacher Fiona Viotti have had psychologists and psychiatrists made available to them as they prepare for their final exams…
Viotti’s defence attorney, William Booth, said the allegations had taken a toll on his client’s health, and she was admitted to a clinic at the weekend.
“My client has sought counselling and is now under medical care. I have told Bishops that we are willing to co-operate.
“There are no criminal charges against my client as she has not committed any crime.”
News24 adds that the SA Council for Educators (SACE) has launched its own investigation into Viotti’s conduct:
“There is a SACE investigation because that teacher is registered with us,” said spokesperson Thembinkosi Ndhlovu, in relation to Fiona Viotti, a former model turned history teacher and sports coach.
In terms of the SACE’s rules, teachers are subject to a code of conduct and having a relationship with a pupil is considered out of bounds…
The sanctions for a finding of misconduct state that a teacher can be fined, or reprimanded; or struck off the roll of registration for a particular period; or, struck off indefinitely.
“That means they can’t be a teacher,” said Ndhlovu.
Booth, Viotti’s lawyer, has said that many of the details being widely reported are incorrect, but refused to specify which ones at this point.
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