Despite the first public retraction by Giles Muhame of his hang the gays campaign: “Had the Vice-Chancellor’s office known about this invitation and the background of the individual the invitation would have been withdrawn.”
By Private Courts,
San Francisco- October 20, 2012- Deputy Vice-chancellor Dr. David Young, of the University of Victoria, Kampala, Uganda, issued an apology this week, indicating the University’s regret at hosting Giles Muhame, the managing editor of the “Hang-the Gays” Tabloid, Rolling Stone.
Muhame delivered a speech earlier this month to students at the University’s new Department of Journalism, after receiving an invitation by journalism Professor Alan Geere.
Muhame contacted Melanie Nathan and provided her with a transcript while boasting about his speech at the University earlier this month. Nathan, an advocate for LGBTI human rights, who has written extensively about Uganda’s LGBTI community’s struggle, immediately issued a complaint about the invitation to the University, through the advocacy firm Private Courts, Inc.
Muhame commenced his speech to the students with his first ever public expression of regret since Rolling Stone’s notorious article in 2010,“ 100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak” with a picture of a noose and the further caption – “HANG THEM!.” The Article used pictures including a hangman’s noose to out gays and lesbians in Uganda, causing untold harm resulting in the ostracizing, beatings and arrests of some Ugandans, while others fled the country.
In his speech Muhame makes a first ever admission that he waged a campaign to hang the gays and that he had caused harm:
“The Rolling Stone made mistakes, which I regret and think, should have been avoided. It was the youthful adrenaline that overrode our reason. It was not necessary to wage a campaign for the hanging of gays. I think we could have prepared a better story without jeopardizing the safety of a minority group. The story under the headline “Hang Them” cost the newspaper its future. It’s not a good thing to be known for doing the wrong thing. (Applause).”
“Even though he has made this admission, it was inadequate and self serving,” noted Nathan. “Under the circumstances this invitation was highly offensive to all journalists and also the LGBT communities around the world. The Ugandan leaks went viral and Muhame’s actions were deadly,” said Nathan. Furthermore, “Giles Muhame has yet to apologize or make amends to the LGBTI community and the specific people he harmed.”
Muhame lost a lawsuit brought against him and the tabloid by Ugandan gay activists including since murdered David Kato.
Muhame was ordered to retract the publication and pay shs 4.5million to the gay activists who sued him.
However he vowed to ignore the judgment through a Press Release referring to his victims as “shamed homos” and stated further:- “We would have paid them but doing so is as good as paying a tribute to those who promote sexual identity confusion and related madness. We remain strong and indeed in times of war, losses are expected.”
Melanie Nathan noted in her letter to the Vice-Chancellor’s office:-
“Your Journalism Department at Victoria University invited one of the world’s most unethical and disrespected ‘journalists’ to speak to its students.”
Nathan went on to note:
“What the world thinks of Muhame is summed up by U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, in her letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking for the denial of a U.S. Visa to Muhame, as follows: “Under Mr. Muhame’s editorship, Rolling Stone incited violence and murder against non-heterosexuals…. This hate filled man has fanned the flames with violence and intolerance, and is both a danger and a disgrace.” (See the letter: http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/07/11/congresswoman-requests-secretary-clinton-to-deny-us-entry-to-giles-muhame/ )
The Private Court’s complaint expressed: “Nothing Muhame says or does can restore him to journalistic integrity until such time as he apologizes publicly to the 100 gays he outed, the entire community and makes some form of reparation to David Kato’s mother and Ugandans who had to flee Uganda as a result of the publication.”
Nathan says that the Acting Vice-Chancellor Young was very responsive to the complaint. She was very pleased with the University’s response, which is published here in the following statement in its entirety:
“STATEMENT ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO COMPLAINT FROM MELANIE NATHAN, PRIVATE COURTS. INC:
Universities should strive to achieve a balance between protecting and promoting free speech and critical thinking on the one hand and, on the other, preventing the use of their facilities as platforms for those who are intent upon inciting hatred of groups or individuals or of inciting violence or disruption.
In the case of the presenter you are complaining about some the views he promoted previously in his journal Rolling Stone fell in the category of inciting hatred of groups and/or individuals and would, in many countries, have incurred the wrath of the criminal law.
He has since expressed a degree of regret for the expression of these views – as indeed he did during his talk at Victoria University. Furthermore, he made no attempt during his visit to promote the unacceptable views previously published. The visit was part of a series of presentations from representatives of both the mainstream and alternative media to our students on the Media, Communication and Journalism course in order to expose them to different models of journalism and how these publications are formulated in terms of editorial stance and business model. However, expressions of regret for having caused extreme harm are only convincing if complete and unreserved. Unreserved and unqualified regret and apology should certainly be a minimum condition for re-acceptance in the worldwide academic community.
Had the Vice-Chancellor’s office known about this invitation and the background of the individual the invitation would have been withdrawn.
Victoria University abhors and condemns unequivocally the statements made in Rolling Stone and elsewhere which incited hatred of, or violence against, individuals or groups of people. We apologize for having provided a platform which was likely to cause offense to those people affected by these unacceptable statements.
This case has acted as a prompt for us to formulate our policy on guest speakers and our new policy document will be presented to the next meeting of our Senate. We will also be requiring with immediate effect that all proposals for guest speakers must be subject to the approval of the Vice-Chancellor’s office. These measures are designed to ensure compliance from now on with the principles expressed in paragraph one of this statement.
Dr David Young
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Acting Vice-Chancellor
17 October 2012”
O-BLOG-DEE-O-BLOG-DA – Private Courts, Inc. © 2012, All rights Reserved.
Permission to Republish Statement with article only and as long as it is published without any edit and in full or link to this page as source.
Updated 10/22/2012. :- Giles Muhame e-mailed me after I sent him a link to this article. In vague terms he indicated he is ready to make an unconditional apology to Ugandan Gays. I suggested he use his newspaper to make amends by educating Ugandans on the issues of acceptance of LGBTI Ugandans and the truth about homosexuality. If he is sincere about his so called turn around and remorse, I suggested that he goes public against the Anti-homosexuality bill. Don’t hold your breathe and stay tuned.
Melanie Nathan, Executive Director, Private Courts Inc.
MELANIE NATHAN is the founding director of Private Courts Inc. an international and U.S. mediation, equality and human rights advocacy firm based in Marin County, California. Nathan’s CV can be found at www.visualcv.com/melnathan She can be contacted at [email protected]