Marcus Brewster

Marcus Brewster, Idols SA season 1 judge

Marcus Brewster was a judge on Idols SA for just a single season, that is season 1 in 2002. He worked alongside fellow judges Randall Abrahams, Penny Lebyane and Dave Thompson.

He is a South African award winning PR entrepreneur and the executive chairman of South Africa’s most awarded PR agency, Marcus Brewster. He is also a World traveler and Collector.

‘Marcus Brewster’ is a brand synonymous with PR excellence in South Africa, an industry innovator, leader, and inspiration.

However in May 2011, they rebranded from ‘Marcus Brewster Publicity’ to ‘Marcus Brewster’ in order to reflect the firms expanded service offerings and new opportunities and directions for the business. Vanessa Fogel Design was appointed to handle the rebrand.

In 2016, Marcus decided to move to Malta where he expanded and affiliated his multi-award winning firm with larger Level 1 BBBEE marketing/comms agency MediaRevolution for scale and went on to launch Marcus Brewster International in Europe the following year.

Controversy

Under his PR firm, Marcus was the manager of all eleven Idols SA season 1 finalists back in 2002. They all however split from him one by one slamming him for exploitation.

Season 1 finalist Bianca Le Grange who was 21 years old at the time blamed Brewster, her former manager for exploiting and double-booking her, leaving her burnt-out and her singing compromised.

Then three other finalists accused Brewster who was supposed to manage the Idols SA finalists for three years of taking a 40% cut of their earnings, but doing nothing to earn it.

At the time, Bianca Le Grange said she had begun suffering from asthma because her schedule had not allowed her to recover from flu she’d picked up in Rio. A doctor had said the asthma was also stress-related.

Le Grange claimed her performances were often scheduled close together, leaving her little time to prepare. That had left her looking unprofessional and deprived her of time in which to record a single.

Le Grange said: “I have to do gigs with a sore throat and tired, and I can’t perform at my best.”

She said Brewster took 40% of her earnings, which she considered exorbitant. “I may not know a lot about this business, but I know when I am being robbed.”

Another finalist David Fourie also accused Brewster of taking a 40% cut of his earnings for doing nothing.

David Fourie said he had to arrange his own appearances. “He didn’t arrange one technical aspect. I did it all: dressing rooms, transport, everything.”

Melanie Lowe, who made the final three, said Brewster’s company would book her appearances but she would not know what she would be singing and nothing would be organised.

“It would look very bad, he didn’t do a single thing. We all were hurt. He was nice to us during the Idols competition and we all adored him,” Melanie Lowe stated.

Contestant Lyndle Kearns said: “Marcus was like the backbone of my existence during the show. But the guy I know now is not the same guy I knew then.”

But a “shocked” Brewster hit back at the singers, saying some had been “highly unprofessional, disorganised and discourteous”.

He said the finalists had asked him to arrange as much work for them as he could and Le Grange had only six commitments until the end of December 2002.

He disputed Fourie’s claims, saying he had not charged the performer for gigs he organised himself, and dismissed Lowe’s allegations as “baseless and unsubstantiated”.

Marcus established his PR firm under the name ‘Marcus Brewster Publicity’ in 1991 with its corporate headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa and a full office in Johannesburg.

Marcus currently lives on – and actively promotes the Mediterranean island of Malta.