Gordon Grieve

Gordon Grieve (Pic: Reno Horn)

A Mr Gay South Africa 2014 finalist has been accused of being a bad role model after he posted a comment about “ugly” people on Facebook.

Gordon Grieve, who placed in the top five of the competition late last year, was criticised for stating on his Facebook profile earlier this month: “There is nothing worse than an ugly person with self confidence. Drives me insane.”

He was quickly attacked for the comment by some of his followers. Greg Arthur responded: “Comments like this perpetuate stigma, the very thing you claim to want to address in society. Stigma, like everything else, starts with you.”

Ben Lourens added: “So ugly looking ppl should have inferiority complexes base purely on their looks? LOL That’s shallow.”

Ettienne Fouche wrote: “That is the most conceited statement I have ever heard! This from someone who no doubt was spewing out just how much he cares for his fellow man less than a month ago in a beauty contest.”

Grieve explained that he made the comment “in reference to the very serial killer looking guy that had the nerve to open my shower doors at gym and asked if he could join”.

Mambaonline received a number of messages complaining about Grieve’s status update, questioning how he could be considered a role model or ambassador for the gay community when he held these kinds of views.

Mr Gay South Africa organiser Emil Faber told Mambaonline that he was surprised by the comment. “It’s very unlike Gordon. I can’t image why he would say something like that”.

Grieve initially defended his post, stating: “People can say about my status what they want. All of us has at least once in our lives ignored a Facebook friendship request from someone, based purely on their looks. I’m just actually the only person that has the balls to say it out loud.”

He later apologised and told Mambaonline that he was sorry if he had offended anyone. Grieve said that the comment was based on something he read in an internet meme or “e-card”.

“I also do believe that had I posted the meme/e-card, people would’ve seen the humour in that statement. I did however post it as a comment as I knew it would cause controversy, and I wanted to see what people’s reactions were,” he said.

“Most of the people close to me, including my mom who is a pastor, saw the satire behind it as they know I’m not a judgemental person. I have never thought I’m better than anyone else, regardless of social status, wealth, health or looks.

“I am from a humble background and will always stay true to that. I personally don’t even see myself as an attractive person. I have my insecurities within myself too. Bad, skin, curly hair, ugly toes – the list goes on. I have just gone on to accept my flaws and work with my positives,” he said.

What do you think? Was Grieve entitled to make the comment? Was it legitimate humour or do these kinds of statements perpetuate discrimination and exclusion within the gay community?

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