A popular Afrikaans musician and actor in South Africa has disputed claims that he is homophobic after he compared same-sex relationships to bestiality.
Steve Hofmeyr in recent days has received a lot of backlash from various civic organizations after he posted a video on Facebook.
“Where my generation learned to talk to mice, ducks and dogs, our children will be taught how to have sex with mice ducks and dogs. Those relationships with animals are part of that + at the end of the LGBTQI+,” he said in a part of the video that was translated into English.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and OUT, the second-oldest LGBTQ rights organization in South Africa, have called on Hofmeyr to retract his comments or face legal action.
“From the commission’s assessment of the statements made, it has determined that he appears to liken the LGBTIQ+ community to be inclusive of bestiality, which constitutes a sexual offense, S13 of the Criminal Law of the Sexual Offenses and Related Matters Amendment Act of 2007, as well as the Animal Protection Act of 1962,” said the SAHRC in a statement.
“The commission has further determined that the comments, in equating a vulnerable section of society to criminals having sex with ‘mice, ducks and dogs’ may seriously demean and humiliate members ascribing to the LGBTIQ+ community, thereby affecting their rights to equality and dignity as determined in Section 9 and 10 of the Constitution,” it adds. “More so, the commission has therefore issued a letter of demand to Mr. Hofmeyr expressing its concerns relating to the utterances made and shared to his hundreds of thousands of followers and friends accordingly. Should the commissions’ demands not be met, the commission reserves the right to proceed to the Equality Court to provide it with the appropriate relief herein. This may include a prayer for damages, as well as an order seeking the respondent to undergo community service at a center in support of the promotion of the rights of vulnerable groups.”
Lerato Phalakatshela, the human rights manager at OUT, which is also one of the complainants in the matter, said Hofmeyr’s sentiments are degrading and dehumanizing.
“Through these false and harmful statements, Hofmeyr is perpetuating the narrative that LGBTIQ+ people are deviants and are inherently dangerous to children,” said Phalakatshela. “Spreading these blatant lies not only dehumanizes and other LGBTIQ+ people but also provides fuel to justify stigmatization, discrimination and even violence against LGBTIQ+ individuals in South Africa where more than 24 LGBTQ+ individuals were murdered last year. Words have consequences!”
“LGBTQ+ people want no extra rights or privileges but we are entitled, just like everyone else, to be appropriately represented in media for people of all ages,” added Phalakatshela. “However, we are pleased that the SAHRC has taken the first steps in dealing with this issue and we urge it to pursue the matter until, at the very least, Hofmeyr unreservedly and publicly apologizes and retracts his comments in writing.”
At the same time, OUT has launched an online petition that, among other things, demands, Hofmeyr acknowledges the LGBTQ acronym does not and is not intended to include bestiality, pedophilia and other illegal and/or non-consensual behavior and he apologizes to the LGBTQ community in writing via a public statement within seven days. OUT urged the SAHRC to investigate and take appropriate action against him, including taking the matter to the Equality Court, if he fails to meet these demands.
According to OUT, the petition also serves to express the anger and frustration felt by the LGBTQ community and its allies over the continued spreading of harmful speech.
Hofmeyr has nevertheless maintained he has nothing more to say about the issue and he said what he said.
“I have nothing to add to the LGBTQ+ debate that I already say (sic) in the previous post,” he said. “Feel free to watch the video again. If you think I said gays sleep with animals you are too dumb for this conversation. The other gays are on my side.”