Nigerian – German investigative journalist Ruona J Meyer, today got into a heated twitter back and forth with satirical writer El Nathan John over the latter’s stance on a literal festival held in Kaduna state Nigeria. The BBC World Service journalist held nothing back as she railed into the writer who criticised the fact that a literal festival was being hosted in a state where according to him literal freedom is limited, journalists are targeted and speaking up could cost you your life.
Meyers gripe with the writer’s comments is that he was speaking from a safe place, a cocoon of sorts as the writer is currently based in Germany. She is of the opinion that he should stand up for the rights of writers and only speak on literal freedom if he is actually taking steps to fight the system from the ground, that is from the soil of Nigeria.
In the heat of the argument, Meyers who is nominated for an International Emmy award for her documentary on the abuse of codeine by Nigerian youths resorted to using homophobic slurs to shame the writer calling him a “D*ck Refugee” inferring that he currently resides in Germany as an escape from Nigeria’s strict anti-gay laws.
Coming on the heels of public figures like Comedian Kevin Hart losing his spot as the host of the Emmy’s because of homophobic comments he made in the past, and also facing backlash from fans including boycotting his shows, someone of Meyer’s standing should know better than to resort to such cheap shots. The repercussions of this ‘spat’ could be heavy for the journalist, Dancehall artists like Vybz Cartel and Elephant man have had their nominations for the MOBO awards withdrawn by the organizers due to homophobic lyrics, another case of having one’s nomination’s for an award withdrawn due to homophobia is Model Tumi Seeco losing his nomination for hunk of the year in the 10th Feather Awards over tweets he put out. Germany has also been known to take steps against homophobic public figures like the withdrawal of singer Xavier Naidoo from the 2016 Eurovision contests due to his racially offensive and homophobic lyrics. Could Ruona Meyer be next?
This begs the question, was there no other way for Meyers to pass her point across in a way that is respectful without coming for the writer’s sexuality? The world is a lot more sensitive to subjects concerning minority groups and we all strive to be sensitive to their feelings. For a critically acclaimed journalist of her position, Meyer should know better as this bout of recklessness could cost her an Emmy award that would no doubt boost her career. Will the organizers of the Emmy’s withdraw Ruona Meyer’s nomination for News and Current Affairs? Will she lose the first award nomination for both her and the BBC World Service? We can only watch as events continue to unfold.