The cost of hate: Steve Hofmeyr to pay R100,000 to LGBTIQ+ group
Steve Hofmeyr may now think twice about what he chooses to say on social media. The singer has agreed to pay an LGBTIQ+ organisation R100,000 in compensation after he was taken to the Equality Court for making hateful comments on social media.
On Monday, the agreement between two applicants – the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and OUT LGBT Well-being – and Hofmeyr was made an order of the Gqeberha High Court, sitting as the Equality Court.
The case stems from the singer’s April 2022 social media statements 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.
OUT lodged a hate speech complaint with the SAHRC over the comments and the two organisations took Hofmeyr to the Equality Court in June 2022.
In the agreement, Hofmeyr agreed to publish an apology to the LGBTIQ+ community on all his social media platforms, which he did on Sunday.
He acknowledged that his statements were hurtful to members of the LGBTIQ+ community and said that he regrets them. He apologised unconditionally to this community as well as any other member of the public that was offended by his utterances.
Hofmeyr also agreed to pay a settlement amount of R100,000 to OUT – a registered non-profit organisation that works to ensure the health, well-being, and human rights of the LGBTIQ+ community – and its legal costs.
As a condition of the settlement, Hofmeyr will participate in a diversity and inclusivity awareness conversation to be presented by the SAHRC.
“OUT is pleased that this matter has been settled, with Steve Hofmeyr acknowledging that what he said was plainly wrong. The right to freedom of speech cannot be used to demonise a community with false and hateful statements that help create a stigmatising, dangerous and sometimes deadly environment,” says Dawie Nel, Executive Director of OUT.
Lerato Phalakatshela, the Human Rights Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being, agrees. “We hope that the outcome of this case will help bigots realise that posting hate speech on social media has consequences and will not be tolerated,” he commented.
“We furthermore urge members of the LGBTIQ+ community to make use of the Equality Courts as a relatively simple mechanism to address incidents of hate speech and discrimination,” Phalakatshela said.
OUT thanked the SAHRC and its Eastern Cape Provincial Manager, Dr Eileen Carter, and Commissioner Andre Gaum; Lithemba Ncanywa Inc Attorneys; Advocate Msizi; and Sibonelo Ncanana, OUT’s Human Rights Coordinator in Gqeberha, for their work in the case.
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