Court ruling: song labelling gay men ‘fairy’ and ‘fag’ is not homophobic
A London court ruled that the performance of a song referring to gay men as “fairy” and “fag” outside the home of a gay couple is not abusive.
Nick Fiveash and his male partner, from east London, alleged that their neighbours performed the song in a bid to offend them following a row.
Lyrics to the song, which Mr Fiveash captured on his phone, include the lines: “Well you are a fairy, you’re friends call you Mary / You spend time in jail but you don’t find it scary / Cos that’s what you do when you are a fairy fairy fairy.”
Judges at Stratford Magistrate’s Court unanimously ruled the song was not offensive, saying the lyrics should be taken as “satire”.
The furious couple have criticised the judges for “unconscious homophobia” and have now been backed by a prominent Labour MP.
The couple, who have lived in the home for 15 years, say they had never before had a dispute with their neighbours, and the new neighbours had only moved in recently.
According to Mr Fiveash, the situation erupted when he complained to the neighbours about noise levels in August 2016.
The neighbours, Olivia Still and her partner Nick Stott, known as Oak World Music, were alleged to have said “they’re gonna love this” before singing to a Mark Silverman song with the words “queer”, “fairy” and “fag” in the aftermath of the row.
After a disagreement over the content of the song, Mr Fiveash recorded the neighbours singing along to the song from his window, with the neighbours heard saying, “They’re at the window” as they spotted him listening.
The opening verse to the controversial song goes:
“Cos you like to watch Broadway plays / That’s what you do when you’re gay
“And you are a queer you have been for years / Your Christian Conservatives [Inaudible]
“You always drink wine and never drink beer / Cos that’s what you do when you’re queer
“Yeah that’s what you do when you’re queer”.
Mr Fiveash says that he challenged neighbour, Ms Still, on the lyrics, saying that he found them offensive as a gay man.
However she argued that they lyrics were not insulting to gay people, and insisted that the end of the song included a twist that the singer admits to also having sex with other men.
On 26 June three magistrates found Ms Still and Mr Stott ‘not guilty’ of the charge of “using threatening, abusive, and insulting words to cause alarm and distress” as they concluded the song was ‘satirical’ and not ‘homophobic’.
The stunned gay couple say the experience caused them great anguish and they live in fear that it could be repeated.
They and are now demanding the case be re-opened – saying the not guilty ruling highlights unconscious homophobia in the legal system.
Mr Fiveash, who runs his own PR firm, told PinkNews: “If my neighbours had been singing a racially or religiously obscene song, I can’t imagine anyone tolerating that.
“Ignoring this seems to highlight the fact that the magistrates themselves suffer from a conscious or unconscious homophobia.
“Surely a magistrate must free himself of prejudice and partiality and so conduct himself, in court and out of it, as to give no ground for doubting his ability and willingness to decide cases coming before him solely on their legal and factual merits, as they appear to him in the exercise of an objective, independent and impartial judgment.”
He added: “We’ve lived in our house for over 15 years peacefully, safe and friendly with all our neighbours.
“This has been a horrific event and even though we were fortunate not to be physically hurt, the mental stress has been unbearable.
“We live next door in a terraced house to these people and see and hear them every day.”
Now the couple’s MP, Labour’s Rushanara Ali, has intervened in the case – saying she too feels the incident was homophobia.http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/08/24/lo ... omophobic/