Diane Coetzer and Eban Olivier settle out of court

By Theresa Mallinson 9 November 2011

In what Coetzer terms “the best possible outcome”, Olivier will publish a public apology for the threatening comments he directed towards her on Facebook and pay legal costs, as well as a small settlement amount. By THERESA MALLINSON.

In case you’ve missed the back story of the barney, here it is in brief. In July, music journalist Diane Coetzer, writing for Daily Maverick, penned a review of the Parlotones’ Dragonflies & Astronauts theatre production. Eban Olivier, who was contracted by Catalyst Entertainment (which produced the show), took exception to certain of her comments. He proceeded to make his feelings known via a stream of vitriolic Facebook posts, including some which threatened violence against Coetzer and her daughter.

Coetzer subsequently instigated legal action against Olivier, asking for R150,000 in damages, legal costs and a public apology for his statements. Daily Maverick suggested at the time that it would be in Olivier’s interest to publish a proper apology, as well as settle out of court for a lesser amount.

A couple of months later, this is exactly what has happened. In early November, the two parties settled out of court, with Olivier agreeing to publish an unqualified public apology (here we must disclose that it will be published on Daily Maverick); and pay legal costs, as well as a small settlement.

Although the settlement is significantly less than the sum applied for, Coetzer told iMaverick that it was never about the money. “The main thing was the unconditional public apology from his side,” she said. “This is the best possible outcome.”

Coetzer added that she felt vindicated for standing up to Olivier’s Facebook comments. “It wasn’t an easy decision,” she said. “A lot of people advised against it… but I felt so strongly about it both professionally and personally that I took the step – and I feel vindicated that it was the right one.” DM

Photo courtesy of the Parlotones


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