(WB) Organizers of the Mr. Gay World pageant have filed a defamation lawsuit against a South African man who won the event in 2021.

Louw Breytenbach, a 33-year-old man from Boksburg, South Africa, resigned as Mr. Gay World last December, two months after winning the pageant due to what he describes as the unfair contact he signed with organizers.

Breytenbach has accused pageant organizers of tarnishing his reputation because he was already a media personality before he entered the competition. Breytenbach added he thought the Mr. Gay World competition was a platform he could use to broaden his charity work and organizers had the interests of the LGBTQ and intersex community at heart.

“I think it is my right to know what happens to the money I raise for the organization in my capacity as Mr. Gay World. Who is benefiting from these sponsorships? I led the Gay Pride March in Namibia last weekend and was not given anything towards my expenses, but I was reprimanded via their lawyers to tag the organization in all social media posts,” said Breytenbach following his resignation.

Pageant organizers last week in a statement they released accused him of defamation and announced they had filed a lawsuit against him.

“Due to the allegations published by Mr. Breytenbach, the former Mr. Gay World 2021, an application has been launched by Gay World Events (Pty) Ltd, Gay World Foundation (NPC) and its co-founders against Mr. Breytenbach to protect them from future harm and to request the removal of the defamatory publications,” it reads.

“The relief sought against Mr. Breytenbach and (his publicist, Gavin Prins,) is to cease and desist from spreading false information about the Mr. Gay World brand and its co-founders. In December 2021, Mr. Breytenbach published a press release and attended a radio interview wherein he alleged and implied that the parties mentioned above were dishonest and fraudulent. The defamatory allegations equated to an unfounded smear campaign which have caused reputational harm to those concerned,” the statement continues. “The rights of Gay World Events (Pty) Ltd, Gay World Foundation (NPC), and its co-founders remain strictly reserved, not only in total but also to supplement the content of this statement at any time in the future, pending the outcome of the litigation.” 

Breytenbach said he remains undeterred, noting that LGBT and intersex community deserves better from pageant organizers.

“Waking [up to this] is always a scary experience, but not this time. The 2SLGBTQIA+ community deserves more,” he said. “We deserve to know which charities to support and we deserve inclusion, and transparency.”

The court has not scheduled a date to consider the case.

“As we await trial, I want to once again thank every member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community for standing by me, and most of all, to those brave souls across Africa and my friends at OUT and PROUD Namibia who have been key leaders in the movements of change in 2SLGBTQIA+ issues,” said Breytenbach.

Mr. Gay World, meanwhile, has announced this year’s pageant will take place in Cape Town, South Africa from Oct. 9-16.

This will be the seventh time that South Africa will host Mr. Gay World, although two of these contests were hosted virtually to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

 SFGN and the Washington Blade are media partners.