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Monday, 13 March 2023 20:18

Steve Hofmeyr agrees to pay R100 000 fine over LGBTQIA+ hate speech.

By Malibongwe Dayimani.

Controversial Musician Steve Hofmeyr will pay R100 000 to a LGBTQIA+ organisation as part of a settlement reached in the Equality Court in Gqeberha, for controversial comments he made about the LGBTQIA+ community.

Hofmeyr triggered outrage on social media when he criticised Disney's plan to produce films with LGBTQIA+ community representation, saying the company was trying to teach children bestiality and the plus sign could be inclusive of relationships with animals.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and OUT - a registered NPO that works to ensure the health, well-being, and human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community - dragged Hofmeyr to court over his remarks on social media.

In the April 2022 video on Facebook, the singer told his followers the LGBTQIA+ acronym included those who engaged in bestiality and the LGBTQIA+ community was in support of grooming children.

In the settlement, Hofmeyr agreed to publish an apology to the LGBTQIA+ community on all his social media platforms, which he did on Sunday.

He acknowledged his statements were hurtful to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and said he regretted them.

Hofmeyr apologised unconditionally to the LGBTQIA+ community as well as any other member of the public who was offended by his utterances. 

The settlement amount of R100 000 will be paid to OUT as well as its legal costs. 

As a condition of the settlement, Hofmeyr will participate in a diversity and exclusivity 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," said Dawie Nel, OUT's executive director. 

"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," said Lerato Phalakatshela, its human rights manager.

Phalakatshela urge members of the LGBTQIA+ community to make use of the Equality Court as a relatively simple mechanism to address incidents of hate speech and discrimination.