Protests greet 'comic' hate-crime video in Nigeria

In the skit "Lekki Gay," Nigerian comedian Ogusbaba depicts sexual assault as if it were funny. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
In the skit “The Lekki Gay,” Nigerian comedian Ogusbaba depicts sexual assault as if it were funny. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

A video that presents anti-gay sex abuse as a laughing matter is going viral in Nigeria and inspiring outrage from human rights advocates.

“Shameful,” “despicable,” “childish and stupid,” “wicked” are some of the comments by people who have viewed the video.

The video, titled “The Lekki Gay,” by comedian Ogusbaba, depicts a gay man being visited by a friend whom he finds attractive but who brings two other men to the bedroom to threaten him with sexual assault with a banana and increasingly larger vegetables. The video, featuring light-hearted background music, ends with the video going dark as the assault occurs.

We all have a sense of humour, however this sketch does more than create laughter. It glorifies and glamorises homophobic attacks faced daily in reality for many LGBT people in Nigeria,” Anglo-Nigerian activist the Rev. Jide Macauley said on  Facebook.

Nigerian comedian Ogusbaba plans to tour Europe and America this year.
Nigerian comedian Ogusbaba plans to tour Europe and America this year.

In November 2016, the video skit appeared on YouTube, where it has attracted 562 views.  On Jan. 5, it was posted on the Facebook page of Gossip Mill Nigeria, where it has been seen by more than 290,000 times.

Gossip Mill Nigeria introduced the video with the description, “So funny The Lekki Gay… Lol Ogusbaba is at it again.”

“Ogusbaba needs to understand that this is not funny. Your comedy is giving licence to haters to attack gay people. … We urge Ogusbaba to withdraw this sketch, apologise to the gay community, and condemn any homophobic abuse as a result of this comedy,” Macauley stated.

An online petition against the video is under discussion, as is action against a planned Ogusbaba comedy tour to Europe and America.

Meanwhile, on the Gossip Mill Nigeria site, commenters are engaged in an extensive discussion of whether the video is funny and how to think about gay people. Hundreds of comments include anti-gay Bible-thumping, attacks on the West for supposedly promoting homosexuality, and threats to kill gays.

Facebook user Esseta Riman of Abuja, Nigeria, may have been the first person to call out the video as offensive, writing:

“This is not funny !!! The reality is that this actually happens and is much worse than what’s portrayed here. The fact that this video, which is clearly a human rights violation, can be made public with no apprehension or human feelings is very traumatizing to think about.

“Last year there was a video of some white people doing something similar to a black person. The thing is — we cannot cry out for freedom from oppression because of the color of our skin and then oppress others because they’re not like you … It just doesn’t work.

“The world today needs less hate and more love. Live and let live!!!”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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