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Mentor 2023 winner says he almost quit due to bullying, harassment from ex-record label

Byno Ayoni, the champion of the 2023 TV3 Mentor competition, has unveiled a troubling narrative of bullying and harassment inflicted upon him by his former record label, African multimedia company, during his tenure on the show.

Byno Ayoni

In an interview on Hitz FM on May 8, 2024, Byno Ayoni shared that the bullying began when he started participating in the show, despite parting ways with the label a year prior.

According to him, derogatory comments were directed at him during the competition, which he recognised as coming from an individual associated with his former label.

"When I performed, someone would come and write derogatory things about me in the comment section. When I saw it, because I'd been working with them for a time, I knew how they constructed their sentences and then I noticed it was one of them who was doing it.

"I reached out to Frika (a friend at the label) and I was like, ‘Bro, look at what they are doing.’ He said he spoke with the guy, and the guy denied it. But immediately I spoke to Frika, those comments stopped. After that, they started bullying me via WhatsApp," he said.

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The stress from these interactions nearly drove him to exit the competition, but encouragement from his mentor, rapper Edem, kept him in the race. He chose to focus on his performance, ignoring the social media attacks and refraining from responding to the provocations.

"They bullied me to the point where I almost withdrew from the competition, but my mentor, Edem, said, 'No, you've gone too far; you can't leave the competition.'

"So I continued with the competition, and at that point, I had to go and forget my phone so that I could focus on what I was doing.

"Even while the social media bullying was going on, I would never post anything to respond to them or whatever. They kept going until a point where they felt that, ‘Okay, now he's gone too far in the competition; there's nothing we can do anymore’," he added.

However, the label's resentment flared up again when Ayoni failed to acknowledge them in a post-competition interview, despite their negative behaviour towards him.

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