FHM Under Fire for “Rape” Comments made by Editor & Writer

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Popular South African guy’s mag FHM (For Him Magazine) has come under fire for offensive Facebook posts and comments made by Max Bereshenkov, a features-editor and Montle Moorosi, a writer for the publication:

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Some explanation might be needed; to “twerk” is to bend over and vigorously shake your bum, a dance move typified by African-American women in hip-hop culture. Barashenkov’s  comment was a misguided stab at the cultural misappropriation of the twerk by the white South African middle class. It’s especially inappropriate considering South Africa is a country where correctional rape is a very real problem: Duduzile Zozo, a South African lesbian woman was found killed near her home in June.

Moorosi’s comments were in the same vein, and were received with as much outrage as Barashenkov’s. This screenshot made it’s way to Twitter and to angry bloggers and news outlets around the world, and hellfire rained down on these two, whose Facebook profiles have been suspended. Chief Editor of FHM, Brendan Cooper, has said that although he knows the two to be “nice boys”, having these comments associated with his brand have left him furious.

What makes the case interesting, though, is the light this shines on the blurred lines between our personal, private, social and business presences in social media and online in general. FHM also came under fire in May 2012 for racists tweets made by a a model they had featured, Jessica Leandra. When does an opinion (however offensive) voiced among friends, to friends, become something worthy of public scrutiny? What type of position must you hold to be somebody whose opinion matters to people? These are interesting questions to consider as the spread and influence of social networking continues to widen.

 

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