Steve Hofmeyr says he regrets the hurt and offence he caused to the LGBTIQ+ community
In a victory for South Africa’s LGBTIQ+ community, singer Steve Hofmeyr has been forced to apologise for his hateful queerphobic comments in an Equality Court settlement.
On Sunday, Hofmeyr posted a statement on his Facebook page addressing his April 2022 social media comments in which he told his hundreds of thousands of followers that the LGBTIQ+ acronym includes those who engage in bestiality and that the LGBTIQ+ community is in support of “grooming” children.
After OUT LGBT Well-being lodged a hate speech complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission, the two organisations took Hofmeyr to the Gqeberha High Court, sitting as the Equality Court, in June 2022.
“During the past 11 months a lot was said and Equality Court proceedings followed about a video I posted on my Facebook profile in which amongst others, I criticised a policy decision by the international media company, Walt Disney Incorporated, for the latter’s decision to attribute sexual identities to their movie characters,” said Hofmeyr on Sunday.
“I made a comment about the LGBTQ+ community that caused a lot of upset in many circles. I acknowledge that the comments, that led to the Equality Court proceedings, were hurtful to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I regret the hurt and offence caused as a result of the comments and apologise unconditionally to members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as any other member of [the] public that was offended by my comments.
“My attorney informed me that the complaint laid by the South African Human Rights Commission and OUT LGBT-Well-being was accordingly settled and our settlement will be made an order of the Equality Court during the course of next week,” Hofmeyr concluded.
“His comments perpetuate falsehoods that LGBTIQ+ people are sexual deviants who pose a danger to children.”
Many of Hofmeyr’s social media followers responded to the apology with anger and frustration, expressing their belief that he had been “silenced” from speaking “the truth”.
“We live in a time where intelligent people are silenced so stupid people won’t be offended,” wrote one person. “That is so bad. Wrong is wrong! Evil is evil. A spade is a spade. One thing is true, we have to pray like never before,” said another.
It’s likely that Hofmeyr will also be paying OUT LGBT Well-being a settlement amount in compensation for his discriminatory comments.
The details of the settlement are only expected to be confirmed when the agreement between the parties is formalised by the court.
“[Hofmeyr’s] comments perpetuate falsehoods that LGBTIQ+ people are sexual deviants who pose a danger to children,” said OUT in October 2022. “In a country where dozens of LGBTIQ+ people are murdered every year because of their sexuality or gender identity, these dangerous and false claims only serve to fuel discrimination and violence against our community.”
The settlement is a significant outcome for the Equality Court system which is said to be underutilised by the LGBTIQ+ community as a relatively simple mechanism to resolve discrimination and hate speech matters.
Click here to find out more about accessing the Equality Court.