It was meant to be an apology, but an open letter by the FHM writers who were suspended after making jokes about “corrective rape” on Facebook has only fuelled the fire.
Users on social media have accused the pair of using their public apology as nothing more than a platform to “play the blame game” and to justify their comments.
The initial furore was sparked earlier this week after a Facebook conversation involving FHM’s features editor Max Barashenkov and colleague, black writer Montle Moroosi, was circulated on Twitter.
“I propose correctional rape and sterilisation for any white person who twerks,” wrote Barashenkov in a status update, referring to a type of dance.
The black writer Moroosi later joined in on the conversation: “I think rape can be quite fun if executed in a romantic manner. Like saying ‘I love you’ before slipping a roofie in her Earl Grey tea.”
After other users challenged the pair on their comments, Barashenkov wrote that he had been a victim of “corrective rape” and was entitled to make jokes about it.
Local charity and support group Luleki Sizwe says at least 10 black lesbians are raped or gang-raped by black men every week in Cape Town. It is believed many of these attacks are “corrective rapes”.
Barashenkov and Moroosi’s comments were met with outrage on Twitter, and FHM suspended the pair.
On Thursday, the writers posted an apology on their shared blog.
“We apologise sincerely for our distasteful and insensitive comments and would especially like to extend our apologies to anyone who has ever gone through the horror of rape,” they wrote.
But the pair also challenged the way they were “publicly lynched for engaging with a taboo subject in their private capacity”, questioning why actual incidents of rape were not met with the same public outcry.
“In the morning, the rape will go on, the rapists will walk free, the media will remain indifferent, but the country will feel better because the real dirt is now under the carpet.
“The fact that our private joke eclipsed other content on South Africa’s media outlets, the fact that we trended above Mandela for the day, points to a problem far greater.”
However, most users were not happy with the apology.- IOL