Twitter has recently been all aflutter, following a series of tweets by the satirist, Conrad Koch, in his “Chester Missing” persona, against utterances made by Steve Hofmeyr, that “Blacks were the architects of Apartheid”. You can read the series of tweets here
Like many people, Koch took issue with the Apartheid denialism and the racism endemic in Hofmeyr’s tweets, and proceeded to tweet at those corporates who were either sponsoring Hofmeyr or who were sponsoring events at which he was performing.
Pressurising corporates to disengage from companies or persons whose political ideologies or actions ran counter to those espoused by the public is not new. Sanctions were a useful weapon in the battle against Apartheid and we are now seeing boycotts being used against companies who are associated with Israel, in protest against their actions in Gaza. Individual celebrities whose actions raise the ire of the public are similarly not immune. Even before his conviction, Oscar Pistorius lost his major sponsors. In 2005 Kate Moss lost her endorsements with H&M, Chanel and Burberry after a photograph of her snorting cocaine came to light. Lance Armstrong’s endorsements disappeared in less time than it takes to pee in a bottle. A Miami rapper lost his Reebok endorsement deal with he released a song which promoted rape culture.
In other words, the pressure being brought to bear upon Hofmeyr is not unique to him, and it is certainly not unprecedented. What is unprecedented, however, is the manner in which he has dealt with it. The Cunt for Red October took himself off to court (or, to be more accurate, was taken off to court by Praag editor and self-proclaimed saviour of the Volk, Dan Roodt) and applied for an order in terms of the Protection from Harrassment Act.
This legislation, relatively new in our law, says, in its preamble, the following:
“SINCE the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, enshrines the rights of all people in the Republic of South Africa, including the right to
equality, the right to privacy, the right to dignity, the right to freedom and security of the person, which incorporates the right to be free from all forms of violence from either
public or private sources, and the rights of children to have their best interests considered to be of paramount importance;
AND IN ORDER to-
(a) afford victims of harassment an effective remedy against such behaviour; and
(b) introduce measures which seek to enable the relevant organs of state to give
full effect to the provisions of this Act,”
The Act is generally used by people to obtain protection from abusive text messages, social media trolling, sexual harrassment, and online stalking. Hofmeyr took it to a new level by using the Act to apply for (and obtain!) an Interim Protection Order against Koch, prohibiting him from harrassing him, or from contacting his sponsors, or business associates.
Wow. Hofmeyr sued the puppet to safeguard his professional reputation. Hofmeyr, who has now firmly placed himself in the political arena by aligning himself with political organisations like Afriforum and Praag, is suggesting that he should be protected from tweets which cause damage to his dignity and personality. Wow. Perhaps he should start by deleting his own account?
The Court is now going to waste valuable time and resources on a matter where a celebrity whose ego outstrips his talent, instead of protecting those individuals whom the legislation was designed to protect. Big up, Steve, score one for the little man. Next thing we know, Number 1 will be taking out an order against anyone who mentions Nkandla. I bet Zapiro is binning his pencils as we speak.
If you agree with me that this is an abuse of the process, then please come out in support of Koch, and let the Department of Justice know what you think of them not inserting a clause in the legislation which protects journalists and political commentators from being subject to this act.