As one of the complainants in the matter of Steve Hofmeyr’s recent anti-LGBTIQ+ hate speech, OUT LGBT Well-being welcomes the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) taking action against the singer.
In two social media videos, Hofmeyr claimed that the LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, plus) community and Disney aim to “groom” children into illegal and reprehensible activities, such as bestiality, by making Disney content more inclusive and representative. He also falsely asserted that the “+” in the LGBTIQ+ acronym encompasses individuals who practice bestiality.
“Through these false and harmful statements, Hofmeyr is perpetuating the narrative that LGBTIQ+ people are ‘deviants’ and are inherently dangerous to children,” says Lerato Phalakatshela, the Human Rights Manager at OUT. “Spreading these blatant lies not only dehumanises and ‘others’ LGBTIQ+ people but also provides fuel to justify stigmatisation, discrimination and even violence against LGBTIQ+ individuals,” he adds.
It’s on this basis that OUT lodged a formal complaint of hate speech with the SAHRC, through its Gqeberha office.
In response, the commission confirmed this week that it had sent a letter of demand to Hofmeyr for an apology, an amount of R500,000 to be donated to an organisation of its choice, and for him to commit to some form of community service.
The SAHRC noted that his words “may seriously demean and humiliate members ascribing to the LGBTIQ+ community, thereby affecting their rights to Equality and Dignity as determined in sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution.”
The SAHRC also believes that Hofmeyr’s comments “may be in contravention of Section 11 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Equality Act), read with section 1.” Should he not respond appropriately to the letter within two weeks, the commission “reserves the right to proceed to the Equality Court to provide it with the appropriate relief.”
“We are pleased that the SAHRC has taken the first steps in dealing with this issue and urge it to pursue the matter until, at the very least, Hofmeyr unreservedly and publicly apologises and retracts his comments in writing,” says Phalakatshela.
OUT has launched an online petition calling for Hofmeyr to do the right thing and for the SAHRC to take the matter seriously and to a satisfactory conclusion. The petition also serves to express the anger and frustration felt by the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies over the continued spreading of harmful speech that has no place in South Africa today.
The petition can be signed here: https://chng.it/4CVmZ9SvLV
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Luiz De Barros, OUT’s Marketing & Communications Consultant, on firstname.lastname@example.org.