Spud apologises for gay comment

2011-01-17 15:09
Durban - Spud himself has responded to criticism levelled against homophobic comments made by a character in the John van de Ruit book.

In an open letter to Judge Edwin Cameron, Spud Milton offers “a sincere apology on behalf of The Guv for his insensitive treatment of lesbians and gays”.

Spud goes on to say that while he doesn’t like the Guv’s “occasional bigotry, or his heavy drinking”, he has “still changed the way that I look at the world around me”.

“It’s tempting to say that I shouldn’t have written that offensive statement down in my diary (…) But that would not have been my true account.”

He said his personal reservation about the film version of his diary related to the fact that his character was played by “a blue-eyed Australian”.

“Not that I’m xenophobic, mind you; it’s just that ever since Shane Warne, I just don’t like Australians that much.”

He said it would probably be impossible to read his diaries “or watch Mr Garland’s film without being slightly offended by something” if you feel really strongly about that particular cause or standpoint.

‘Just not in court’

Addressing Cameron on the word “faggotism”, he wrote: “I guarantee that you won’t find that word in any dictionary (…) I don’t like the word either and would never have thought to use it myself, but I still wrote it down because he said it and I was there (…) I don’t think Rambo accused Vern of ‘fagottism’ by lazy accident. He said that word specifically to demean and humiliate Vern for stealing everybody’s underpants. For that in my experience is the way that boys humiliate each other.”

Regarding Fatty’s comment about Mr Lilly (“What’s so terrible about portraying a flamboyant art teacher who tries his luck at organic rugby coaching?”), Spud said: “what offends you, makes others lurch, makes some people laugh, makes a few debate and the odd person walk out.”

Spud apologises for the offence caused, and ends by saying he hopes to meet Cameron someday - “just not in court”.

In a footnote to Spud’s letter, Alison Lowry, CEO of Penguin Books, said Penguin supports freedom of expression and open-minded, robust and informed debate. “Read Spud. See Spud - the Movie. And make up your own mind.”

The letter comes after criticism of Spud - the Movie, by Constitutional Court judge Cameron who expressed concern about the “casual denigration of gays - the amiable gay-hating incidents” in the movie, and raised the fear that the Guv’s attitude to lesbians is uncomfortably close to “corrective rape”.



  • Exoteric - 2011-01-17 15:37

    why apologise, rightly or wrongly this is what your experiences were,your experiences are exactly that YOURS! Recounting the rights and wrongs of the age you were brought up in also brings into stark relief the type of homophobia experienced by schoolboys, this in itself should be a talking point, ie lessons learned etc and using the movie at schools to show the prejudice experienced by gay boys.You cannot make everything PC just to please offended individuals, move on people, tell it like it was or is, not like it should be.

      Umfubi - 2011-01-17 22:47

      Did you actually read this 'apology'? {Or maybe you didn't understand it...)

      squeegeepilot - 2011-01-18 19:44

      The real problem is that a sitting Constitutional Court judge has made a direct link between a few comments in a comedy and real life rape. Does this mean that violence in movies directly causes murder and violence in society or is this link limited to comments about lesbians and the direct consequence of violence towards them? Will an antisemetic comment in a movie about Nazi Germany cause people to go out and kill Jews? Is the Judge suggesting sensorship?

  • Brenton - 2011-01-17 15:49

    Now I won't read it or see the movie..............sis.

  • newmanhouse - 2011-01-17 16:14

    Having been a border my entire school life with the exception of Standard 2 when I was forced into the dark realms of being a "Day Scholar" i certainly can relate to Spud thoughts and feelings. It seems rather demeaning that words that used in my day are now deemed to be offensive to member of our society my 1st year in high school (1968) I was the fag to one of the hostel prefects and 4 years later when I for my sins was elected to be a prefect I to was deemed fit to have a somebody to be my Fag. I ask why do people look into things and happenings as in this movie where in reality things happen like this and if you look into the era where this was suppossed have taken place I cannot for the life of me understand where the esteemed Judge that what the Guv said condoned "Gay and Lesbian bashing". it is just like an age old "English" saying denoting that every one is on the same side has been deemed to insult other religions To Whi " Singing from the same Hymn Book" it is only people in my mind that make a song and dance about this and the word "Hymn" is replaced by the word "Song". Are we in South Africa both christian orientated and is not our 1st "Official" language so what is wrong in keeping to the old sayings Has this saying been the cause for a Jihad Lets stop being so touchy and get on with our lives.

      sagoodboy10 - 2011-01-18 14:29

      Sir i beg to differ....In your days at school the word fag etc was used liberally and as you surely know it was MEANT to demean a person (presumably straight) by attributing to that person ALL the negative perceptions that people have toward a real homosexual. (Because you KNOW that the person you call a FAG will feel "small" or "humiliated" and that was the whole point. wasn’t it?) In SA we have a SERIOUS PROBLEM with "corrective RAPE" of women, and De Ruit knows this, but JUST DONT CARE...Movies are usually adaptations of books, and in our society advocating RAPE is NO laughing matter. Would the film have been any less funny if the writer adapted that scene, so as not to advocate such horrible actions (and don’t tell me he didn’t...I am sure your command of English is much better than mine, and even I could see the direct relationship of the words used in the book and movie that Judge Cameron refers to) What I now find disgusting is that De Ruit and Penguin Books now use the character SPUD to exonerate themselves and even worse they are trying to use the controversy to MAKE EVEN MORE MONEY, see (“In a footnote to Spud’s letter, Alison Lowry, CEO of Penguin Books, said Penguin supports freedom of expression and open-minded, robust and informed debate. Read Spud. See Spud - the Movie. And make up your own mind.”) RAPE IS RAPE, BIGOTRY IS BIGOTRY....what is there to debate?

  • mvanderw - 2011-01-17 16:14

    Oh please! Read the books, saw the movie and loved it. When I heard initial reports about the Judge's complaint, I could not even figure out where in the movie it occured - it was only after examples were given in a later reports that I knew. Honestly, the way the complainants carry on one would think gay bashing is what the movie is about. Get a life. Spud is a portrayal of life in a boys school and I'm sure "politically incorrect" are made. My kids did not pick up on the gay themes either, so the movie is definitely not going to make my son go out and give any lesbian a rogering.

      Celesté - 2011-01-19 14:29

      Well put mwanderw, the book is about a kid's very real experience in a hostel - nothing else. Ive read the books - still trying to find time to go see the movie - but I will! LONG LIVE JOHN VAN DE RUIT :)

  • Joe_Public - 2011-01-17 16:25

    What has happened to free speech? Am I no longer allowed to think or speak as an individual? Am I required to conform to societal sheep-speech? I'm not a huge fan of gays (given that I am straight) no more so than most women are fans of lesbians or than rugby players that dislike hockey. If I say that hockey is a shit game (and it was one of my sports at school), surely people can use their noodle to discern that it is in context of my likes and dislikes. Am I now being forced to like what I know I dislike, or otherwise censor myself? WTF!

  • squeegeepilot - 2011-01-17 16:26

    This is how history is changed to make it politically correct. Should Spud's memories have been passed through the filters of current attitudes? For a clever person the Judge's response is utterly stupid. What the book and the movie does is expose where we have come from, not where we are now.

  • Tanya - 2011-01-17 16:29

    Are we becoming Americans? "Sue Starbucks 'cause my coffee was hot!" Ban Enid Blyton 'cause Noddy's gay!" "Spud promotes homophobia!" Seriously? It was his experience. It was a true reflection of the time. Get over it. Fight ignorance (ie homophobia, racism et al) through intelligent response and debate, not hysterical attention seeking.

  • Rob - 2011-01-17 16:33

    This judge must grow a pair honestly. It was a true account he recorded. Oh sorry we must alter history to suite everybody. Grow up

      sagoodboy10 - 2011-01-18 14:38

      What true account? SPUD IS A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER written by an author, who lives in a real world. The JUDGE is GAy and has lived his live openly, and had to endure the most horrible homophobia from straight people, who think its FUNNY to bash gay people and give a lesbian a "rogering" (i.e CORRECTIVE RAPE) If you actualy read the letter the Judge wrote to the paper NOT the snippets in tese articles, you will see howmuch the Judge actually liked the book and the movie, yet felt he needed to point out the dangers that lurk in making fun of serious issues....it desensitises people to the seriousness of the matter....I so hope that NONE of your children are gay or lesbian and that they have to endure the so called things you think is funny..

  • lacisnesnon - 2011-01-17 16:35


  • Sneaky Suspicion@24.com - 2011-01-17 16:52

    Read the full version of Spuddy's letter to Justice Cameron. I have a sneaky suspicion that J Cameron is going to crawl back into his cave and hope that everybody will forget about his moment of "faggotism".

      Umfubi - 2011-01-17 22:50

      Hear hear - it's wonderful.

  • nerissadalton - 2011-01-17 16:59

    This is brilliant - well said Spud!

  • twattums - 2011-01-17 22:23

    There's nothing like the truth - it's either black or white, no grey! Was an excellent story, can't understand that the hoo-haa was all about, was all very above board and true to life, very real in fact! For those that didn't like it, must have hit a nerve - a raw one!

  • AJ - 2011-01-18 06:16

    Is Cameron saying that only positive references to sexuality should be shown or alluded to in movies/books? Why can a negative view not also be shown; whether it relates to heterosexual or homosexual behaviour is neither here nor there.

  • Carl - 2011-01-18 08:03

    Live and let live, but the good judge has put the cause of gays back 10 years. Would like to research some of his work when he was on the bench, or was he "straight" then?

  • rasta7109 - 2011-01-18 08:59

    Political Correctness is a pain in the buttocks. The irony of it is that it is discriminating, hypocritical and condescending. One has to be politically correct towards gays/lesbians, women, people with disabilities, races, animals and what not else (call them the PC-Target Group). Why are people not sensitive to Joe Bloggs & Co?? I do not fall under any of the categories of the PC Target Group, so all the mickey are being taken out of us ordinary guys. The hypocrisy of it lies therein that these same people who demand PC'ness (gays, lesbians, women, etc), are the same people who are Politically Incorrect towards Joe Bloggs & Co (look at the advertisements where the ordinary guy is so often portrayed as being the village idiot, the dumb dad, the pathetic husband etc, women making discriminating remarks towards men, the list can go on. I consider Political Correctness to be condescending, because very often, people who fall under the PC-Target Group can take the political incorrectness, but through PC, they are considered to be too sensitive to take bit of bickering. And there starts a whole new cycle of discrimination, because you are discriminating against a person who can take a bit of insensitivity, but because he/she falls in a certain category, they are considered too weak to take it. What a joke...

  • Spydr - 2011-01-18 09:13

    Should books and movies (e.g. stories of fiction) now be PC and ignore the reality of what schoolboys think and do?? This is ridiculous - our constitution allows for freedom of speech and the esteemed judge should have seen this for what it is. Read it/see the movie and make up your own mind - we are not that stupid to agree with everything we read or view after all!

  • Phumla - 2011-01-18 14:47

    What happend to freedom of speech. Its his book, his experience.You dont hear fat people wanting apologies just because some public figure made a negative comment. Get over it. You living on planet earth, no place for unrealistic people.

  • ArtimusPrime - 2011-01-18 16:46

    “Not that I’m xenophobic, mind you; it’s just that ever since Shane Warne, I just don’t like Australians that much.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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