Kiki Mordi is a journalist
Investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker, and writer Kiki Mordi was recently called out by a journalist, Ruona Meyer, for allegedly taking credits for the 2019 award-winning “Sex For Grades” investigative documentary, despite the fact she wasn’t the brain behind the project.
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In 2019, after gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent Kiki Mordi as an undercover journalist, who knew first-hand how devastating sexual harassment could be, posing as a student inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana.
The 13-minute documentary was targeted at lecturers in some West African universities, who specialize in harassing their students for sex in exchange for grades/marks.
Since the premiere of the documentary, Kiki has been snagging a plethora of awards such as an Emmy Nom, OkayAfrica’s 100 Women 2020 List, and MTV EMA Changemaker, to mention a few.
Although Kiki Mordi addressed the claims after she was accused. She has now gone ahead to give full details on how the documentary was made.
Yesterday started with orchestrated and lightning speed accusations from people who blocked me. I was trending for hours and I hadn’t gotten ONE mention. Why? Because I won the @ICFJ Award for Storytelling.
Let’s do a bit of storytelling shall we?
#SexForGrades is not a glamorous story, none of you – not even Ruona who – knows the horror that we faced investigating both in Ghana and in several states in Nigeria, or even during post production in London.
When I came on board, I didn’t even know I was going to end up being the reporter and lead investigator. I was just happy to help. This story is personal to me. I was happy to play my small part. I didn’t hustle or apply or pitch or beg for this position.
I just kept proving how useful, brilliant and professional I was. My hard work should never erase another’s, everyone worked hard, everyone delivered.
But if you claim to fight erasure, you will not speak on my experiences because you have no idea. You weren’t there.
This was a secret project, none of the people working outside of Sex For Grades within the BBC knew what we were working on. They just knew that they always saw me in the office at some point, till midnight sometimes & then they wouldn’t see me for sometime and then I’d be back.
If you weren’t in the inner circle you could never speak on what happened. So first things you must know is Ruona knows nothing. She wasn’t in any room. She used to work for the BBC and she was asked to leave. Fin.
The biggest question everyone has been asking is “who pitched the story” and while I’m just a freelance investigative journalist, I can tell you who for free because the answer is online….
You guys did.
After the last Africa Eye Project, the most comments BBC received was that the next investigation be on sexual harassment. I said this on Twitter, in my interviews, on the actual film. I never hid this from anyone & I certainly never stole anyone’s story or credits.
1st phase of research was already on going when I joined. There were leads already and infact I was one of the leads (another funny story)
Most of the other journalists were staff. So do you see how wild it is to accuse me of coming from outside to steal a BBC’s staff story?
The truth is, all of my contribution can’t simply be summarized in the end credits page. I know the work I did and I’m so darn proud of it. I can say the same for other journalists as well. ALL OF THEM! The ones that worked in Lagos, Benin, Accra and cities I can’t mention.
I saw a thread by a colleague of mine, Oge, that you guys have attributed to me. I can sense that there are real emotions but I can’t respond to accusations I wasn’t named in. I can’t depend on people on Twitter who have zero idea to draw lines and expect me to answer to that.
This has always been about exposing the culture of Sex For Grades, not awards & recognitions. It was dangerous work, not everyone wanted their face on it.
#SexForGrades is an award winning doc owned by BBC, any “proceeds” go to the BBC. Which I assume they use to pay their staff.
Again I’m just a freelance journalist, I don’t have access to hog proceeds
If you have more questions I can guarantee the answer’s in the film. Watch it & share with your loved ones
But you can also email the BBC, they have such an open door policy
And congratulations to me on my Michael Elliott Award for African Storytelling
P.S other members of the team have continued to apply for and win awards and it gives me butterflies in my tummy. I love a winning team.
# Kiki Mordi is a journalist
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