'Shame on you': Uproar over 'disturbing' trailer for Oscar Pistorius doco

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, pictured here before she was murdered.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp. Image: Getty

The BBC has been forced to apologise after copping backlash, including from Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, for failing to mention her name in a trailer for its upcoming documentary on Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius, a double amputee who represented South Africa in the Olympics and Paralympics, was jailed for 13 years for murdering Steenkamp at their Pretoria home on Valentine's Day in 2013.

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Pistorius claimed he woke in the middle of the night and heard noises in the bathroom, shooting what he thought was an intruder.

A new documentary by the BBC entitled ‘The Trials of Oscar Pistorius’ is set to be released this month, documenting the scandal and aftermath.

However a recent trailer for the four-part series sparked widespread backlash recently when it didn’t mention Steenkamp by name.

Steenkamp’s mother Julie said she was “disturbed” to see Reeva only featured in the trailer as “the deceased”.

“I am just disturbed by no one saying anything, that she was the person who died,” Julie told ITV program ‘This Morning’.

“I've got my foundation now and have been working hard at saving women from gender-based violence. It seems tragic that they just used her as ‘the deceased’ again.

“I want to know why they don’t speak about Reeva and why they don’t see her as the wonderful person that she was.”

June Steenkamp, pictured here speaking to the media about the murder of her daughter.
June Steenkamp speaks to the media about the murder of her daughter. (Photo by MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP via Getty Images)

BBC apologises for Oscar Pistorius trailer

After taking the trailer down the BBC issues an apology.

“We regret that the original trail did not refer to Reeva Steenkamp directly,” a statement said.

“We are aware of the upset it has caused, which was never the intention.

“We have removed the trail and it will be replaced by something more representative of the series, which examines in detail a number of complex issues connected to her murder.”

Viewers were left left furious on social media after watching the trailer.

“Every 3 hours a woman is murdered in South Africa, yet the BBC wants to tell us that Oscar Pistorius was some kind of misunderstood hero,” one user wrote.

“In a two min trailer Reeva Steenkamp’s name was not mentioned once. Do better BBC.”

Oscar Pistorius, pictured here in court in South Africa in 2016.
Oscar Pistorius in court in South Africa in 2016. (Photo by Marco Longari - Pool/Getty Images)

Another added: “I’m so very sick of sensationalist documentaries where men who murder their partners are painted as complex and talented beings and the women they kill are erased.

“Her name was Reeva Steenkamp. Say it.”

Sonia Sodha of The Guardian tore the BBC to shreds in a furious column entitled: ‘Reeva Steenkamp was murdered. Shame on the BBC for forgetting’.

“Accompanying this was a sickening BBC press release that boasted of a series telling the ‘extraordinary story’ of ‘an international hero who inspired millions’ until ‘he suddenly found himself at the centre of a murder investigation’,” Sodha wrote.

“‘According to Pistorius, the event was a tragic accident, but his troubled past and questionable testimony cast doubt on his innocence’, the BBC tells us.

“Amid the gushing, his murder conviction is not mentioned once. You could read it and think he got off.”

Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 after shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol.

He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old model and reality TV star for an intruder and was initially convicted of manslaughter by trial judge Thokozile Masipa.

That conviction was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court in 2015.

Pistorius was then sentenced to six years for murder by Masipa, a decision also rejected by the Supreme Court and more than doubled.

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