The winner of Mr. Gay World 2021 has resigned his title and accused the organization behind the pageant of “unlawful” conduct.
Louw Breytenbach, a 31-year-old businessman and creative personality from South Africa, was crowned Mr. Gay World 2021 during the virtual pageant in October of this year.
But this month Breytenbach stepped down, claiming in a statement issued through his publicist that contract negotiations with Mr. Gay World had “deteriorated” amidst a “back and forth legal battle,” The Citizen reports.
Breytenbach had refused to sign the “unconstitutional and opaque” contract sent to him after the pageant, citing issues with media representation and remuneration.
The contract allegedly required Mr. Gay World to be Breytenbach’s sole agent for TV bookings and acting roles, which Breytenbach objected to, given he already retains an agent.
“I don’t need them to manage whatever TV opportunities I get,” he sad. “My suggestion was that they manage me based on opportunities pertaining to the pageant and my role as Mr. Gay World.”
He also claimed that his initial contract mentioned remuneration, but lacked specific details. A revised document allegedly omitted mention of remuneration entirely.
Breytenbach said the he led a Gay Pride march in Namibia as part of his duties, but wasn’t refunded for his expenses during the trip. However, he alleges that pageant lawyers demanded he tag Mr. Gay World in his social media posts.
The contract also allegedly mandated a €5,000 ($5,600) fine should Breytenbach leave the pageant or resign from his role, a penalty he described as “unlawful.”
“What if they are in breach of contract, should I still pay the penalty? This does not make sense,” he said.
Breytenbach also expressed his “concern” over Mr. Gay World’s alleged refusal to reveal how funds are used for the Mr. Gay World Foundation.
“I think it is my right to know what happens to money that I raise for the organization in my capacity as Mr. Gay World,” Breytenbach said. “Who is benefiting from all of [these] sponsorships?”
Breytenbach said that his image was “being abused because I was already a media personality before I entered.”
“I’m disappointed as I really thought the Mr. Gay World competition was a platform I could use to broaden my charity work,” he said. “I also thought they had the interests of the LGBTIQ+ community at heart. Sadly, I was wrong.”
Mr. Gay World responded to the allegations in a statement, saying Breytenbach had resigned “following a contractual dispute, despite our best attempts to resolve the matter amicably and reasonably.”
“We also note the unfortunate press release issued on Mr. Breytenbach’s behalf which includes a series of defamatory allegations about the organization and its officials,” the statement continued.
“We strongly refute these allegations and thoroughly reject Mr. Breytenbach’s version of the events as described. Mr. Gay World is meeting with its legal team to decide what steps to take and will not issue any further comment for the moment.”
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