Former Mr Gay World fights back after pageant organisers demand apology for 'defamatory' statements

South Africa's Louw Breytenbach resigned two months after winning the title in October 2021.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@louwbreytenbach02

The winner of the 2021 Mr. Gay World pageant, Louw Breytenbach, is fighting back after the organisers called on him to retract and apologise for alleged "defamatory" statements he's made about the event. 

Breytenbach, 31, from South Africa, won the title last October but is reported to have refused to sign a contract with the Gay World Foundation that would gave seen the organisers become the activist's de facto agent for bookings and opportunities. 

At the time, as reported by the South African newspaper The Citizen, Breytenbach already had a TV agent so suggested the Foundation, "manage me based on opportunities pertaining to the pageant and my role as Mr. Gay World". 

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A post shared by Louw Breytenbach (@louwbreytenbach02)

The South African is also reported to have said early versions of the contract mentioned being remunerated, which was left out of later versions.

He was also told he would be subject to a $5,640 penalty if he left the pageant, which at the time he blasted as nonsensical and "unlawful," asking, "What if they are in breach of contract, should I still pay the penalty?"

He also expressed concerns that the group refused to be audited about how the Foundation used funds. Breytenbach told The Citizen, "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?"

In December 2021, he resigned as Mr. Gay World in a statement released by his publicist, Gavin Wildschutt-Prins which alluded to a breakdown in the relationship. 

Claiming his image was being "abused" he also said: "I am disappointed as I really thought the Mr. Gay World competition was a platform I could use to broaden my charity work. I also thought they had the interests of the LGBTQI+ community at heart. Sadly, I was wrong."

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A post shared by Louw Breytenbach (@louwbreytenbach02)

Mr. Gay World organisers refuted these claims, which they said include "a series of defamatory allegations about the organization and its officials," while confirming a "contractual dispute". 

Now, Breytenbach has hired a lawyer in response to the Foundation allegedly demanding that he retract his comments and that his publicist, Prins, retract the December statement.

The pair's lawyer, Quintin Steyn, confirmed the news to The Citizen last week.

"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 apologise in public for alleged defamatory statements made in the media," he said adding that he had in return filed documents on behalf of his clients. 

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A post shared by Louw Breytenbach (@louwbreytenbach02)

Breytenbach also issued a new statement claiming his intentions in taking part in Mr. Gay World were to "add a voice to the lgbtqia+ community," and that his resignation was not done "to tarnish the reputation of the organisation, but rather because of value differences."

Following Breytenbach's resignation as Mr. Gay World, the title went to Bonginkosi Ndima who also resigned not long after.

Attitude has contacted the Gay World Foundation for comment.

**UPDATE 17/8/2022**

In a statement provided to Attitude, the Gay World Foundation confirmed it had requested "the removal of the defamatory publications," and was seeking relief against Mr. Breytenbach and Mr. Prins "to cease and desist from spreading false information about the Mr. Gay World brand and its co-founders."

The statement claims Breytenbach's comments amount to "an unfounded smear campaign which have caused reputational harm to those concerned."

It adds, "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."

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.