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Bunnings UK&I severs ties with disgraced PR firm Bell Pottinger

Reputation in the mud

One of the UK’s largest and most controversial public relations firms Bell Pottinger, is almost certain to be placed into administration as early as next week after it was found to have incited anti-white secular loathing in South Africa.

With the PR firm on the brink of administration, it has been revealed exclusively to Insight DIY this afternoon, that the Bunnings UK & Ireland business has also severed ties with the disgraced organisation.

Bell Pottinger was Wesfarmers’ UK PR group and worked on the Bunnings UK and Ireland launch progressing this year, however a contact has confirmed that all ties have now been severed. This is yet another piece of bad luck to surround the Bunnings UK and Ireland acquisition after the surprise Brexit vote only months after the purchase of Homebase, followed by the dismal UK summer which has left them with millions of pounds of unsold seasonal stock.

At the centre of the PR scandal of the decade was Bell Pottinger’s work for a company called Oakbay Capital, owned by the Indian-born Gupta family, who have been accused of wielding undue influence on the South African president Jacob Zuma and his children.

Earlier this year, Bell Pottinger was accused of using an army of feign online social media accounts to take aim at rich white South African people and companies along with reporters who had been critical of the Gupta family, with a passionate allegation campaign accusing them of being agents of “#WhiteMonopolyCapital”.

On Monday of this week, the UK's PR industry trade body, the Public Relations and Communications Association, expelled Bell Pottinger for a minimum of five years after it concluded that its campaign work on behalf of the Gupta family in South Africa was likely to inflame “racial discord”.

Head of the PRCA Francis Ingham, described the work as the “most blatant instance of unethical practice” he had ever seen. 

On Thursday, staff at Bell Pottinger’s Holborn headquarters in London were told by chairman Mark Smith, that the firm could be in administration by Monday. Accountants BDO have been appointed to restructure the business.

Source: Steve Collinge - Managing Director Insight Retail Group Ltd.

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08 September 2017

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