Johannesburg Pride struck out at Pretoria Pride with a controversial press release on Tuesday 4 December 2018. In it, the Johannesburg Pride Committee accuses several individuals of having threatened to kill them, of hate speech and of abuse. Some of the accused are apparently part of a Facebook page called Jozzi Pride where posts critical of both Johannesburg Pride and its director, Ms Kaye Ally, are shown in screenshots. The board decided to “publicly identify” these individuals, accusing them as being “the root creators of this hate.”
The accused include several people who are not all members of the Pretoria Pride Board. One is a person who runs a well-known LGBTQ+ news outlet, another a person attached to a major US company, and the other individuals associated with the Jozzi Pride page.
The statement goes on to state that “this Johannesburg Pride Committee has always focused on Johannesburg PRIDE’s (sic) development without breaking down other Pride Organizations.” It ends with accusing the individuals of putting the lives of public figures at risk.
The press release was apparently circulated to several media outlets, as well as being published on the Facebook page, where it elicited a number of comments. The majority of these posts were critical of the method Johannesburg Pride used to address the issue, while Johannesburg Pride defended their right to publish. One comment read: “Johannesburg Pride if they indeed threaten your lives then a case at the SAPS will be the correct channel to follow. Placing this on facebook only shows that your claims are untrue and your motives malicious.”
Another comment read: “Information like this is not for public domain and needs to be sorted out between entities or people. Worst case lawyers should get involved. Posting this is childish and seriously looks like Johannesburg Pride is looking for sympathy or attention.” The same person goes on to comment that “the post is doing quite a bit of harm to Johannesburg Pride” and that he will “definitely not in future deal with Johannesburg Pride.” Johannesburg Pride kept defending their action by producing evidence such as a post reading: “Hope Kaye Ally and her board are not involved” as evidence to support their accusations.
Another person’s comment sums it up succinctly: “You know the sad thing? I am newly out, wanted to join in with a pride festival, and now I feel like I wouldn’t want to join either of your groups because of how this has played out. Way to go. You’ve both just lost a supporter and I’ve lost the opportunity to attend my first ever pride festival. I’ll show myself out.”
All negative comments have subsequently been deleted from the page and at the time of writing, only three positive comments remain. GaySA Radio is in possession of a printout of the extensive comments which was done before they were deleted off the Johannesburg Pride Facebook page.
GaySA Radio approached Johannesburg Pride’s Media Officer with the following questions:
- What is the official position of Johannesburg Pride’s board about the statement?
- Did the board seek legal advice before the statement was published?
- Are you planning to take any legal action against the seven people mentioned in the statement and if so on what charges?
- How were the death threats made? Were they written, verbal etc?
- Who made these threats and for what reason?
- Have criminal charges been pressed with the SAPS regarding the death threats? If so, what are the case numbers?
- If these threats are so serious, why publish it on Facebook and not follow the normal legal procedures?
- The statement on Facebook claims that hate speech has been directed towards Johannesburg Pride. Has a case been made at the Human Rights Council?
We received the following reply: “GaySA Radio is an official media partner of Pretoria Pride and at this stage Johannesburg Pride reserves the right to comment.”
Meanwhile, a new pride event is on the cards for Tshwane in 2019. Jacaranda Pride’s branding on the Johannesburg Pride stage was one of the first indications that Pretoria Pride is getting some competition. According to the website, www.jacarandapride.com: “Jacaranda LGBTQ+ Pride Festival is a Pride with purpose. Enabling people to celebrate with us who would otherwise be unable to, is one way Jacaranda LGBTQ+ Pride Festival shows its purpose and will endeavour to break down borders of race and social borders that prevents (sic) us from STANDING TOGETHER! (sic)”
According to the website, the “first Jacaranda LGBTQ+ Pride Festival will kick off officially in 2019 with what promises to be the largest, brightest and most diverse Pride in Tshwane ever to commemorate Stone Wall’s (sic) 50th Anniversary – when we took a stand to earn equal rights!” This suggests that the event will be held on Friday 26 June, although there are no official dates on the website or on their Facebook page.
GaySA Radio has secured an interview with the organisers of Jacaranda Pride and more news about it will follow soon.