Basketmouth’s Rape Jokes, Uti Nwachukwu’s Misogyny, and the Case of Accountability Catching Up With Nigerian Celebrities

Basketmouth’s Rape Jokes, Uti Nwachukwu’s Misogyny, and the Case of Accountability Catching Up With Nigerian Celebrities

The Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS (EU in Nigeria) recently announced its ambassadors for its Sexual and Gender Based Violence campaign. Among these ambassadors were celebrities like the comedian Basketmouth and actor/model, Uti Nwachukwu.

Following this announcement, complete with a picture of the lineup on twitter, there was an instant backlash from feminist voices like the director of The Equality Hub, Pamela Adie and Plus TV Africa’s The Advocate host, Ireti Bakare-Yusuf, all of whom called out the injustice of making an ambassador out of Basketmouth on issues regarding sexual violence, when the comedian is well known for the rape jokes he has made in the past.

Following a career that has been salted with a number of standup comedy on rape jokes, in 2014, Basketmouth came under fire on social media after he posted a joke about the difference between dating “white girls” and “African girls.” According to him, white women put out after a couple of dates, but African women keep holding out, so on the ninth date, a bit of rape is required.

Most Nigerians and other African commentators reacted to the joke with outrage, and the backlash was so furious that Basketmouth eventually made a halfhearted attempt at an apology, where he claimed that he was trying to shed light on an important social issue.

“I would never in a thousand lifetimes encourage rape,” he said. “I broadcasted a joke that many clearly misunderstood and have found offensive and I sincerely apologise, the intention however was to highlight an unfortunate trend and the ridiculously flawed comparison between money and the worth of a woman.”

This apology would’ve probably made sense, except the comedian was filmed on 2019’s Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy talking about how the rape joke helped him sell his tickets.

The idea of someone with such an enabling history on sexual violence now assuming the role of a spokesperson for Sexual and Gender Based Violence was very icky. So icky that the social media outrage persisted until the EU quietly removed the comedian from its lineup, releasing another photo of its ambassadors. And no statement.

This of course didn’t go unnoticed, and drew the ire of Twitter netizens, who were quick to point out the flaw in the European Union not taking the time to investigate the histories of the people who they choose to name as ambassadors for such an important campaign.

A flaw that was further emphasized after they did release a statement – only for more twitter receipts to emerge that pointed at the unfitness of yet another ambassador: Uti Nwachukwu. Past tweets showed the actor’s body-shaming attacks on women and insensitive amusement over the heated exchange in the now-infamous Tacha-Mercy fight in the concluded Big Brother Naija season.

The EU is yet to react to this latest development, and when it does, hopefully it would be in a manner that further underlines this budding trend of accountability that is so foreign for Nigerian celebrities. In times past, whereas the Kevin Harts of the American entertainment industry and the Seyi Omoobas of the UK entertainment industry are swiftly held accountable for their past discriminatory missteps, Nigerian celebrities, with all the power they have, generally get away with the most insensitive and prejudicial material masked as entertainment. Just last year, a clip surfaced of the comedian AY fostering homophobia and violence against people with same sex orientation, and despite the outrage that this video caused, the comedian never once apologized for the discrimination he targeted at LGBT people.

In the same vein, other celebrities such as Gideon Okeke run rampant with their homophobic views all over the social media, a luxury that their Western counterparts could never indulge because of the understanding that such insensitivities come with consequences that impact on their livelihood. Instead, over here, rape jokes, misogynistic views and homophobic opinions are endorsed, appreciated and even protected by the public, largely because those vices are our way of life. (During the furor surrounding Basketmouth’s rape joke, his fans came out to fight back with the insistence that those who were offended were just being over sensitive. Even now, with the emergence of Uti Nwachukwu’s misogyny, there are those who are calling the aggrieved voices haters.)

Nigeria has a history of condoning bad behaviour. And so, the further the world contracts into a global village, hopefully more missed opportunities like this that impact their livelihood will impress on Nigerian celebrities the importance of using their forums and voices to advance kinder outlooks on humanity instead of furthering callous discrimination.

Or at least, make them to be more circumspect with the opinions they put out in public.

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18 Comments

  1. Francis
    December 01, 07:17 Reply

    Drag them oh 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    I don’t think UTI matter carry weight sha. Shebi all is fair when you are fighting and you want to cause serious damage? 🤔

  2. Mitch
    December 01, 07:49 Reply

    I was low-key wondering when Uti’s case would be tackled. I must have missed the tweets on that. I’m just glad that a few Nigerians are starting to understand that accountability is a thing. And have begun to hold, not just celebrities, but other people accountable for their words and actions.

    PS: I’m low-key waiting for the day AY’s matter will blow up. Na me go dey front lines to drag him destiny.

    • Hilary
      December 04, 10:37 Reply

      I swear down!!! He needs to be put in his place and be dragged the hell out . such audacity! I’m right behind you Mitch.

  3. Williams
    December 01, 08:09 Reply

    Kudos to Pamela Adie.
    Great advocacy.

  4. Colossus
    December 01, 08:53 Reply

    This is good. Nigerian comedians rely heavily on rape jokes, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled and other appalling “jokes”. Its time they know there are consequences for their words

  5. Kabbiz
    December 01, 09:25 Reply

    Quite detailed. Frankly, I like the fact that Nigerian celebrities are being held seriously accountable when the time comes.

    If they can’t show their support for a set of people (or marginalized persons), they should keep their cool and not enable whatever culture that’s against those persons.

    I believe that this is just the beginning.

  6. Persimmon
    December 01, 09:45 Reply

    Uti may not be perfect, but his own is clearly a victimization from Tachas supporters… Their level of toxicity is sickening.

    • Pink Panther
      December 01, 10:28 Reply

      Are you serious? His own is a victimization from Tacha’s supporters? Really???

    • Illiana
      December 01, 10:51 Reply

      Are you even normal at all, or you are too blind to see the hateful comments he made especially to female
      Don’t be stupid

  7. Max
    December 01, 11:39 Reply

    So disappointed with Uti. You’d think a sister would know better.

  8. D
    December 01, 11:40 Reply

    My God! A.Y is so vile, and look at all those people laughing as if there is not a gay person in their midst.

    This is why I never welcome these jokes from most Nigerian comedians, their insensitivity is sickening.

  9. Beryl04
    December 01, 15:53 Reply

    AY will never get away with this. Either he’s dragged here one day or while out there in the world, he’ll be dragged in the mud for this.
    We wait…

  10. Victor
    December 01, 22:15 Reply

    What amazes me about AY is the awful lack of emotions he has, to make fun of his brother’s sexuality.

  11. Fave
    December 02, 00:10 Reply

    The Ignorant Stereotype of every effeminate boy being gay is just bleeeer. We don’t need this energy in 2020..

  12. Teni
    December 02, 06:21 Reply

    Finally Nigerians are waking up,🙌🏾🙌🏾 next stop, our ignorant politicians

  13. Kelvin
    December 02, 07:07 Reply

    I oncedar schooled my elder siblings on this rape, homophobic jokes being made by nigeRian comedians and I introduced them to Trevor Noah (thank goodness his show was airing at that moment on dstv) they enjoyed his jokes and no form of discrimination was made on marginalised people. They agreed to this and said Nigerian comedians should try better with their lame jokes.

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