Mohale Motaung and Somizi Mhlongo at their wedding (Photo: Austin Malema)
Social media users are using what appears to be a fake news story about celebrity couple Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung’s sex life to fuel appalling online homophobia.
The article comes in the wake of bombshell allegations by Motaung that he was physically abused by his husband during their relationship and marriage.
The allegations were contained in an audio recording in which Motaung also alleged that Mhlongo sought to bring other partners into their bedroom. These claims have been widely reported in the mainstream media.
The 1taal website, however, took the story one step further by reporting that it subsequently received an “anonymous email… claiming to come from Mohale” which contained information about Mhlongo’s allegedly “outrageous sex toys.”
The article, which we have chosen not to link to, also goes into lurid details about alleged sex acts that Mhlongo and Motaung engaged in.
The 1taal website, however, is not a credible news source and has published a number of outrageous and implausible articles. The site’s “about us” page also does not work and there are no contact details listed; hallmarks of a fake news site.
Despite the irresponsible article being published by a dubious website and being based on an apparently “anonymous email” it’s been unquestioningly accepted as fact by many on social media and re-shared by other blogs and platforms.
On Twitter, the story has taken on a life of its own and has been used to mock the couple in dozens of posts and memes that have deeply homophobic undertones.
To be clear, any sex acts between consenting adults should not be used to shame anyone, but 1taal’s article has been weaponised to perpetuate harmful and homophobic stereotypes and sensationalism. It is also detracting from the serious issue of intimate partner violence.
Mhlongo’s management has responded to the domestic abuse allegations by stating that the matter has been referred to his legal team and “no further comment will be given until such a time deemed necessary by his legal representatives.” Motaung himself has remained silent on the matter since the initial report was published.
On Wednesday, the SABC announced that Metro FM management had met with Mhlongo, that “he has requested to take some time off from work” and that it “has granted Mr Mhlongo permission to do so.”