‘Fuck White People’ Artwork: Equality Courts Rules Exhibition Is Not Hate Speech

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Fuck White People Artwork: The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court has ruled that a controversial exhibition titled ‘Fuck White People’ is an expression of art and not a discrimination against white people or hate speech.

Magistrate Thulare, on Tuesday, dismissed a case brought by Cape Party leader Jack Miller against the artist Dean Hutton. Miller had asked the equality court to declare that the work is hate speech and racist because they violate the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

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Thulare, in his judgment, said a major achievement of the controversial is its ability “to draw South Africans to a moment of self-reflection”. He buttressed that the words “white” and “people” were not directed at all white people, but rather at a general system of oppression inherent in “white domination”.

Though Miller is said to have used the Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘fuck’ to make his argument, the magistrate insisted that Hutton’s motive for using the word cannot be ascertained in the context of art using a literal definition.

In response to the judgment, Hutton thanked the court for the “very thoughtful” judgment.

She said:



This judgment is a beacon in a perilous time where we are seeing a global rise of white nationalism. Brexit, Trump and the rise of fascism in Europe and other settler colonies. Let’s make racists afraid again.

My work is an amplification of the words and intellectual labour of black people who have been critiquing white people’s actions for hundreds of years. When black people talk, we white people must listen and learn.

The complainant, Miller expressed dismay at the ruling.

It’s very disappointing. We’re quite shocked by the decision because it’s a massive setback and it sets a dangerous precedent. We’re worried about future actions against anyone, not just white people, but people of all races,” he continued

In 1994, the South African government under Nelson Mandela promoted a vision of a ‘Rainbow Nation’. Today, Fuck White People is art. Where is this country going?

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Facts You Should Know

  • ‘Fuck White People’ is an exhibition that has been on display since 2016 alongside a chair and a ‘goldendeanboots’.
  • The work was created by Dean Hutton, a Masters student in fine art at the University of Cape Town, who covered the words Fuck White People in black-and-white capital letters.
  • She was inspired to create the poster after Witwatersrand threatened to expel a student, Zama Mthunzi, for wearing a shirt with the inscription ‘Fuck White People’ on the back.
  • In the description of the artwork in the museum, she said the exhibition was created to provoke white people. “White people made racism and made sure it is deeply embedded in our social systems, laws, economies, institutions, and individuals. So this provocation is here to make you feel that ‘white pain’, the description reads.
  • Hutton created the work as part of an exhibition called The Art of Disruptions at the Iziko South African National Gallery.
  • Earlier this year, wearing Cape Party T-shirts invaded the gallery and wrapped up the exhibition with a banner that read “Love Thy Neighbour”.
  • In January, the Freedom Front Plus called for the dislodgement of the ‘racist’ poster.

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