Hot 91.9 fm taken to BCCSA for “moffie” skit

A Johannesburg man is going forward with his complaint to the BCCSA after the radio station Hot 91.9fm decided to broadcast an ad with the homophobic slur “moffie”.

On 14 August, the Mansfield in the Morning show performed a skit in which they spoof the South African version of the home voice Alexa-styled assistant, named Sarel. In the skit, a man requests that Sarel play the sitcom Friends on his home entertainment system.

However, Sarel callously responds: “No, no boet, you’re not a moffie! You will watch the Springbok replays…”

Wayne Segers, a member of the LGBTQ community, lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA) stating that he “felt hurt and degraded” by the use of the derogatory slur. He felt the use of the word on such a public platform only advocates it.

The BCCSA sent Segers a response from Tony Murrell, Hot 91.9fm Programme Manager, who claims the skit wasn’t derogatory and offensive to gay people.

“The term was used in a segment which is clearly identifiable as a joke, and was not used in a derogatory way, or one which advocates hatred, but rather in a light-hearted way,” he writes in an email to BCCSA.

“The intention was clearly not to offend listeners or to perpetrate hostility/negative stigma against homosexuals. Reasonable listeners will understand the joke in this context, and it is not likely to be hurtful to gay people. There was certainly no ‘incitement to cause harm’ to anyone,” insisted Murrell.

Segers was not happy with Murrell’s response, calling it “wholly inadequate and adds insult to injury”.

“As a radio presenter, there is an obligation on the presenter to consider the impact of communications or comments that the listeners are exposed to, and the excuse that it was clearly meant as a joke is a subjective opinion and the presenter cannot speak to the reasonableness of the listeners or their
mindset,” said Segers.

Arguing that Murrell’s opinion on whether the comment was hurtful, “does not detract from the discrimination it inflicts” and that “consideration should be given to the stigma which has surrounded homosexuality for years”.

Segers hopes for the BCCSA to take “serious action… be taken to reprimand this type of behaviour,” adding that “if action is not taken to address these instances, then the stigma and injustice will continue”.