Man told: ‘Sit down you gay prick,’ before alleged homophobic attack in South Africa
A group of estate agents from a leading property company in South Africa allegedly hurled homophobic abuse at a gay couple before ‘body-slamming’ them to the floor.
The realtors from Rawson Property Group were at a steak restaurant in Johannesburg celebrating the 10th birthday of the company’s North Riding branch last Friday, before the event reportedly descended into chaos.
Hilton Tarrant, a journalist who was in the restaurant at the time said he witnessed “a group of despicable, very drunk and clearly homophobic” estate agents hurl abuse at a couple “who had barely been there for 15 minutes.”
Tarrant says the confrontation escalated into a brawl, peaking when one agent physically attacked the couple body-slamming them onto the floor, one after the other.
Meanwhile, onlookers tried to bring the situation under control by asking the perpetrators to leave but were threatened with physical abuse by other estate agents, according to Tarrant.
“At various points after the physical violence, other drunk Rawson estate agents entered the fray with one threatening the girl – who was with the couple – to stop taking photos,” said Tarrant. “Two female agents then tried to hit her phone out of her hand.”
PinkNews understands that one victim was harmed but will not be pressing charges but he has asked the Rawson Group to carry out an internal investigation.
The real estate company, founded in 1982, is already looking into the incident and said the staff in question are facing serious disciplinary action.
“[The victim] said something derogatory about the brand, and one of the members heard it and got upset,” says Tony Clarke, Managing Director at Rawson Property Group.
Clarke confirmed a homophobic remark was made by a Rawson Group staff member. “A member of the Rawson group stood up and said to him, ‘sit down you gay prick.’”
He also said that there is no evidence to prove anything and that at this stage in the investigation – it seemed like it was “two parties that were a bit drunk, one or two things were said and there were insults thrown on both sides.”
He said that a Rawson staff member was told by a victim, “shut up, you’re a Dutchman.”
The alleged Rawson staff involved were a father and son working at another Rawson branch in the Johannesburg area who Clarke says had recently joined the company and were still in training at the time. “We have got policies that we follow and we don’t discriminate,” said Clarke.
But a review posted soon after the incident slamming the Rawson North Riding branch has been deleted.
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The post, by Colette Diamond read, “I will certainly not be using your services in the future #christmapartygonewrong #rawsonthugs #prfailure.”
Clarke said he has discussed the matter with the branch manager who said she had not deleted the post, and that no further posts have been deleted. He adds that alleged perpetrators are from another Rawson Group branch, who were invited to the party.
However, Colette Diamond told PinkNews, “I did not delete it – but can’t be one hundred percent sure it was the agent. Someone deleted it though, not me!” Diamond added that she was inside the restaurant with her boyfriend as the incident unfolded outside.
The restaurant issued a statement saying they too are investigating the brawl and Rawson Group said they will announce an update on the investigation once complete.