Former Mr Gay World Louw Breytenbach has mounted a media campaign amid the defamation case brought against him by the organisers of Mr Gay World.
In a joint statement sent to MambaOnline on Monday, Breytenbach, his publicist, Gavin Prins, and his pro bono legal representatives, addressed the pending legal dispute.
Gay World Events and the Gay World Foundation, the organisers of Mr Gay World, are asking the courts to order Breytenbach and Prins to publicly retract and apologise for several allegedly defamatory statements made by them when Breytenbach resigned as Mr Gay World last year.
Warren-Tangney Attorneys Incorporated and Advocate Quintin Steyn said they’d decided to represent Breytenbach on a pro bono basis because “we believe in the promotion of the LGBTQIA+ community and its growth”.
Breytenbach himself insisted that his reason for resigning was “never to tarnish the reputation of the organisation, but rather because of value differences”.
He continued: “Our gay community is already broken, and it has always been my intention to build towards the LGBTQIA+ community. I was excited when I was crowned with lots of plans to build the gay community. But unfortunately, I could not achieve this dream.”
Prins said in the statement that he would “continue to fight for the freedom of the press in our democratic society”.
The latest developments have once again been widely reported by the mainstream press in South Africa, including in the Sunday Times, and in the international LGBTQ media.
The dispute has its roots in December 2021. Less than two months after he was crowned Mr Gay World, Breytenbach issued a sensational media statement, through Prins, announcing his resignation from the title. The reasons for the unexpected move came down to two major issues.
Firstly, Breytenbach said he and Mr Gay World had been unable to agree on a contract, citing clauses and terms that he felt were “unconstitutional”. He also claimed that the organisers had refused to meet with him and his lawyers to resolve the matter.
But Breytenbach did not leave it at a mere contractual parting of ways. He also went on to accuse the organisers of not having the best interests of the LGBTIQ community at heart and questioned how their funds are being used, thereby implying some impropriety.
Mr Gay World has denied Breytenbach’s allegations and believes they are unfounded and damaging to the organisation. It’s decided that a court should decide if Breytenbach’s statements are justifiable or true and if they were indeed defamatory.
In a responding statement, Gay World Events (Pty) Ltd, Gay World Foundation (NPC), and its co-founders confirmed that they had launched their legal action against Breytenbach “to protect them from future harm and to request the removal of the defamatory publications”.
They explained that “The relief sought against Mr Breytenbach and Mr Prins is to cease and desist from spreading false information about the Mr Gay World brand and its co-founders.”
The Mr Gay World organisers asserted that in his press release and in a radio interview, Breytenbach implied that they “were dishonest and fraudulent” and that these “defamatory allegations equated to an unfounded smear campaign which have caused reputational harm to those concerned”.
They concluded: “The rights of Gay World Events (Pty) Ltd, Gay World Foundation (NPC), and its co-founders remain strictly reserved, not only in total but also to supplement the content of this statement at any time in the future, pending the outcome of the litigation.”