Controversial singer Steve Hofmeyr has told TshisaLIVE he offered to not participate in the Afrikaans is Groot concert amid ongoing calls for him to be dropped from the lineup, but was contractually bound to perform.
Steve’s participation in the concert was thrown back into the spotlight this week when Sun International said in a statement that they had asked organisers to reconsider Steve’s inclusion in the show.
In the statement, sent to TshisaLIVE, Sun International said that after prior negotiations it was legally bound to host the event at its Time Square venue but voiced concern over Steve’s participation.
“Based on legal advice, we have no recourse to refuse to host the concert, or to demand that the organiser removes Steve Hofmeyr. The contracts were unfortunately concluded some months ago. We nonetheless regard the current debate to be of importance, and have asked the organiser to reconsider Steve Hofmeyr’s inclusion in the show, and to consider the impact this may have on the other show performers. The final decision however rests with the organiser,” the statement read.
The company said it would take steps in the future to ensure that it had a greater oversight over the selection of performers in events hosted at its venues.
“While Sun International believes in the rights of all people to celebrate their cultures, our belief is that such celebrations should not divide South Africans,” it noted.
When approached for comment, Steve hit back, saying he has “never been found guilty of racism or hate speech”.
“I think everybody needs a fall guy. With oom Jan, oom Hendrik and oom Eugene gone, why not pick Steve or Ernst or any other Afrikaner symbols. I have never been found guilty of racism nor hate speech and my aging comments are decidedly lame compared to what our party leaders are mouthing off,” he noted.
The musician claimed to have offered to remove himself from the lineup because of the controversy around his participation, but said he was “contractually bound”.
He added that he did not believe sponsors or hosts should prescribe to politics or cultural activities. “I have only not done it to give them and my employer the benefit of the doubt. I always do.”
Several sponsors pulled out of the concert in March after a tweet from the musician in 2014 resurfaced on social media. In the tweet, Steve claimed black people were the “architects of apartheid”.
Media24, Toyota SA announced that it had ended its relationship with the concert over Steve’s participation in it. This followed a similar announcement from MTN, while Coca Cola distanced itself from the show.
Afrikaans is Groot organisers announced that Steve would remain a part of the concert and in the midst of the boycotts it would turn to its supporters for financial assistance, launching a #JouAIG campaign, where the public will be the “main sponsor”. -Tshisalive