Former Mr. Gay World winner Louw Breytenbach has been slapped by the pageant with a public gag order after he made disparaging statements regarding his short tenure as a titleholder.
The situation began in 2021 when Breytenbach, a former Mr. Gay South Africa, won the title of Mr. Gay World, but refused to sign the final contract making the Mr. Gay World organization his exclusive agent. He had already had a successful TV agent and wanted to keep the two separate.
“I don’t need them to manage whatever TV opportunities I get,” he told media outlet The Citizen. “My suggestion was that they manage me based on opportunities pertaining to the pageant and my role as Mr. Gay World.”
He also had an issue with the fine of 5,000 euros that the contract required him to pay should he step down as titleholder, arguing it “doesn’t make sense.’
“This penalty is unlawful,” he said. “What if they are in breach of contract, should I still pay the penalty?”
In addition, Breytenbach wanted to know where his fundraising efforts would go in the community. The organization wouldn’t allow him to know where the money was going, and this upset him.
“I think it is my right to know what happens to [the] money that I raise for the organization in my capacity as Mr. Gay World. Who is benefiting from all of [these] sponsorships?” he asked.
Quintin Steyn, an LGBTQ advocate and attorney representing both Breytenbach and his publicist, Gavin Prins, released a statement last week, explaining his intention of challenging the gag order.
“I can hereby confirm that the Mr. Gay World Foundation has served my clients, former Mr. Gay World Louw Breytenbach and his publicist, Gavin Prins, with an interdict application to seek a court order to have both retract and apologize in public for alleged defamatory statements made in the media,” Steyn said in a statement, adding that he’s submitted a supplementary affidavit on behalf of his clients.
Breytenbach noted in a statement that he had initially entered the pageant because of his passion about charitable work and desire to build community among LGBTQ South Africans through his activism.
“My intention was to use the platform to add a voice to the LGBTQIA+ community, the Gates of Hope as well as Future Step. As winners, we tend to be blinded by the glitz and glam the contest brings,” he said.
He added that his reason for resigning “was never to tarnish the reputation of the organization, but rather because of value differences.”
Following Breytenbach’s resignation, the title was given to Bonginkosi Ndima. Ndima resigned shortly after taking the title as well. The next Mr. Gay World contest will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, from October 9-16.
“I was excited when I was crowned with lots of plans to build the gay community,” Breytenbach said. “But unfortunately, I could not achieve this dream.”