Acting on the complaints of listeners, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found radio station Hot 91.1FM guilty of homophobia after it broadcast a skit using the word “moffie”.
On Wednesday August 14, 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. After a man requests that Sarel play the sitcom Friends on his home entertainment system, Sarel responds: “No, no boet, you’re not a moffie! You will watch the Springbok replays…”
Dr Mohamed Alli Chicktay, the BCCSA Commissioner, ruled that the Johannesburg radio station’s “use of the term ‘Moffie’ is a violation of the gay community’s right to dignity” and that “there is no legitimate public interest in the skit and even though the broadcaster may have intended it to be light-hearted it is still hurtful to the gay community and should not be tolerated”.
Hot 91.1FM was ordered to broadcast an apology on the show at the same time of the day that the offensive ad was originally aired.
“We didn’t mean to refer in a derogatory way to anyone’s sexual orientation, and we accept that this word has negative connotations and that its use on our show upset our listeners,” said presenter Jeremy Mansfield, as instructed.
“We apologise unreservedly. We didn’t mean to refer in a derogatory way to anyone’s sexual orientation, and we accept that this word has negative connotations and that its use on our show upset our listeners. We will refrain from using this term in future”. Furthermore, the station also agreed to
have the skit removed from their website.
Though the ruling by the BCCSA was welcomed, the complainants expressed feeling as though the victory was a hollow one. Especially, after they were asked for their suggestions about possible penalties.
“I’m not sure why they asked us to be honest. I’m grateful for the apology but it feels hollow – like it’s been swept up under the carpet. I don’t really believe they [Hot 91.9FM] think they did something wrong,” said Wayne Segers, one of the people who complained to the BCCSA.
“I was hoping that they would be sanctioned with a penalty or of their own accord would offer to donate some advertising to a non-profit organisation. It’s very unjust. I think this will happen again,” Segers added.