Dear South Africa

We apologize sincerely for our distasteful and insensitive comments and would especially like to extend our apologies to anyone who has ever gone through the horror of rape. There is little excuse for our words and the careless manner in which they were delivered. We do not condone any form of violence against women, or against anyone for that matter. We also understand that our comments came at a particularly terrible time in light of the Zozo corrective rape case – which brought to light the utter depravity of the society we live in now – and for that we are, once again, sorry. We believe that the use of force against anyone who is unable to defend themselves is perhaps the worst crime that can be committed and should not escape the harshest means of prosecution.

The media madness that was unleashed over the posting of our private – and do keep in mind that it was private, with all Facebook privacy settings set to ‘friends only’ – conversation was surreal in the sense that it received a lot more attention, social media reach and established media buzz than actual cases of rape. We struggle to recall quite as much of a public outcry over the Zozo case itself – Twitter didn’t rage and Gareth Cliff hardly made wisecracks about it. And that is an issue we cannot help but raise.

“Sick people” we were called by the hordes on Twitter. Yes, we are sick people, sick children of a sick country that refuses to acknowledge and deal with its diseases. Throughout our writing careers we have always attacked issues head on, not mincing words and not being afraid to offend for what we believe in. While the Facebook comments in question were indeed insensitive and misguided, there is one thing that we do want to ask you, the zealous and public crusaders for justice: how violently did you tweet and scream and rage when actual rape cases happened? Did you contribute to charities that deal with this horror? Did you volunteer to help? Did you retweet with the same fervor? Our money is on the fact that 95% percent of you did nothing.

It becomes very evident to us that in our perverted country, where a woman is raped every couple of seconds and the President stood trial on a rape case, no one is actually prepared to face the real horror. The country reacts to misguided and private jest with a public witch hunt, with name-calling and demonizing, because the country will sleep better that night knowing that it did something about the rape crisis. And in the morning, the rape will go on, the rapists will walk free, the media will remain indifferent, but the country will feel better because the real dirt is now under the carpet. If we can’t make light of the horror, how are we supposed to deal with it?

The fact that our private joke eclipsed other content on South Africa’s media outlets, the fact that we trended above Mandela for the day, points to a problem far greater. The media, which has fanned the flames of this witch-hunt, has barely bothered to contact us personally for any kind of comment. Only the Sowetan and 2Oceansvibe Radio showed any interest in putting across a balanced point of view. Why would they though? They got their scapegoats – two guys have been publicly lynched for engaging with a taboo subject in their private capacity. Both of us, in our careers as writers, have always engaged with the filth, with the chaos, the ugliness of the world, at the risk of being perceived as filth ourselves. Why? Because we find honesty in the unfiltered horror of life, not in politically and socially correct reportage which trivializes the real issues. It is our hope now that the newspapers and the social media mobs will react as strongly and as violently to more important matters in our country.

Once again, we extend our deepest apologies to all victims of rape and to those that we have offended. We hope that people will remember that the spirit of this country is based on tolerance and understanding, not on blind hate and public lynching.


Max Barashenkov and Montle Moroosi



  1. The only apology South Africa should accept is your signed resignation letters from FHM.

    1. Well, they’ve been fired, so there is justice every now and then

      1. Gary DuPont · ·

        What a vile pair of knobs, lets hope they fade into obscurity

  2. I’m not sure how this letter begins with the words ‘We apologize sincerely’ and then goes on to make use of every available template of an excuse for not needing to apologize. I’m afraid that all this letter has done is to confirm the deep prejudices and tolerance of violence that is the bulk of the South African male psyche, and obviously the ‘go to’ place for the writers’ humor. That the writers go on to so proudly state that the comments were made privately, in jest, and intended for their friends is testament to the conversations they have in bars and around the braai, the same conversations that have men thinking it’s okay to take what they want, thanks to the irrelevant cock hanging between their legs…

    So unfortunately, this is not an apology. This is an attempt by people who should lose both their jobs and their public profiles, to point the finger at those of us who find it hard to ‘make light of the horror…’

    PS: An apology, as you should know, being people who have made ‘careers’ out of commentary, is about accepting responsibility for what you have done, and NOT about highlighting what others have not done… Forget pulling on your cocks boys…AND GROW SOME FUCKING BALLS!!!

  3. Lieb van Zyl · · Reply

    I forgive you. Maybe because I was never offended by your jokes. But you have to accept that the moral majority will look for reasons for condemning those who challenge the norm. I accept that you do not condone rape. Just like you have to accept that your jokes were too edgy for the majority of our society. Can I suggest that you remove your place of employment from your profiles? Can we accept that you were targeted probably because of the fact that you work for FHM? Your views are instrumental in forming opinions. I did not like your jokes but they did not offend me either. I hope that your employer stays true to their nature and decide not to dismiss you. You did the right thing by apologizing. That was the first step. Good luck. Things have a way of working out. Fairness will prevail.

    1. Wow Lieb…’edgy’? …That’s really where you want to go with this?

    2. Adriana Basterfield · · Reply

      Ofcourse it wouldn’t offend you Lieb. Shut up. @Byron Nicely said.

  4. seriously? this is an apology? do something useful with your lives already…

  5. Your critique on the media and on people not getting as angry about actual rapes is relevant.

    But to construe your comments as “attacking” and “engaging” with the issue is laughable. Don’t make yourselves seem more noble than the rest in your so-called apology.

    The reactions of ordinary people to the story and to incidents of rape do not make your actions any less wrong, any less misguided, any less indicative of the privileged misogynistic mentality that resulted in being able to make such flippant comments in the first place.

  6. This is not an apology. This is an attempt to explain how actually no apology is necessary. Yuk. Goodbye FHM, you’ve lost at least one reader, and I will not support any publication that supports these two dimwits in the future either. Shame on you.

  7. emily vining · · Reply

    thank you guys for apologizing about making rape jokes and thank you more for holding up a mirror for all of us. you are right we should all be working to cure the illness of our society. humour is a reflection of society, [“if you think this joke is onbeskof you should see how we (the collective ‘we’ not max and montle) treat our women”] you have exposed a harrowing truth. As a rape survivor i salute you guys

  8. Apology, my foot. This is buffoonery by 2 semi-literate rapist-wannabes.

  9. […] and Montle then issued an aggressive non-apology in which they accuse South Africans of embarking on a ‘witch hunt’ (way to instrumentalise the […]

  10. rebeccahodes · · Reply

    You think they are eating humble pie, but they’re really feasting on obscurantism. Disingenuous kak.

  11. That apology means zilch and nothing. What they said indicated exactly what they think and feel, and no amount of apologising can change that.
    Just wandering if they shouldn’t undergo what they were suggesting, might change their point of view.

  12. Two useless idiots!

  13. Maybe this can help a lot of people

  14. Evalina van Wijk · · Reply

    I am glad that you acknowledged that you were wrong, however please think in future before you make such nasty comments. Rape research is my field of interest, and I did my PhD on the topic. Rape is an devasting and horrible experience not only for the victim, but also for the partner who is the secondary victim. You can read my thesis on the UCT website-this will give you insight and understanding what the victim and his/her partner went through post rape.

  15. Audrey Rademeyer · · Reply

    No, sorry. Your ridiculous and insulting “apology” is not accepted.

  16. Joke was stupid agreed. However the fact is that the moral crusaders here most probably do very little besides ranting

  17. Pam Jones · · Reply

    Nonpology. I’ve seen the ‘semen receptacles’ article, neither of you actually give a shit about women. Neither of you give a shit about rape victims, or you wouldn’t make pro-rape jokes and then continue on with them after being called out for it. If you actually thought rape was an awful thing, you wouldn’t have made the comments in the first place.

  18. Brenda · · Reply

    Wow… An apology blaming others for your despicable behaviour? Wow!

  19. Its amazing how people go out of their way to bring misery to the lives of two individuals who, yes, do have pretty screwed up views and unspeakable lapses of judgement in careless ways, but at the end of the day the truth is that you are all being completely hypocritical spending your time here slating two guys for a big mistake thats going to take a very long time for them to rectify. I know its about the “principal” of the matter- but is that really worse then the act of rape itself? for which (they have a point) most of you have done nothing to prevent. There are far more worthy crusades to be spending your time on, and far more effective ways of creating change. Its high school bully mentality that you possess by sitting behind you computer cursing people who are already paying for what they have done. You need to see the bigger picture

  20. dude who'd · · Reply

    Loud and bold trivial commentary painted as intelligence that’s justified in anti-anti-conundrums, order to attain and further yawls middle class social media popularity goals. Trivializing issues does not make the purpose of your comments invisible, the purpose of your comments is obvious and has everything to do with your facebook-egos and being the anti-trend-trendsters that yawll are. Knowing a few big words and writing a few sentences in the hip-anti-hip world that you wish to be kings of- does not make you intelligent in the least. Common sense will always override your wannabe fringe-anti-fringe social games, yawll like to think yawll smarter than the rest of your middle class contemporeez by painting quick-on-the-draw-confusion-mouth-offs as intelligence- you fuckheads are only bamboozling yourselves, yawlls populist reactionary yaps of “lets say something pseudo funny and trivial” clearly shows that yawll are the fashionable-fence-sitters who like to think that yawll are a bunch of penthrifts- when yawll actually have fuckall skills, writing is not a skill, nor is wearing your hat, jackets, jeans and takkies in a style. You fuckheads are empty, and when after you read this and go “he said we empty, yeah we are empty, empty is rad” you will just continue your moronic middle class ego manifestations, and in the end be packed in very minimalist or maximalist trendy-anti-trend designer embossed box packaging amongst the other very smart and weak artists.

    Your apology was not an apology, although you have furthered your popular crowd goals, but those who are actually intelligent will see write through yawll, for the fools that yawll are- once again the fool is not hip, even if you try and make it hip, time to grow up boys

  21. These two shining examples of manhood have been dismmissed by FHM apparently.
    Long live karma and common sense

  22. fuck the both of you…
    really. lets not make this anything intellectual.

    Fuck you both.

    You hurt our country at a time we need to be helping each other heal.
    You are both completely worthless as human beings and I wonder how in the fuck you wake up everyday being you.

    I could only imagine your lives must be completely shit to live at the moment cause unlike you two hack pieces of shit south africa gives a fuck about those who suffer under great horrors… Its not gonna get better for you… cause although people might forget this in sometime.
    You will still be you.

    You will still have to play out the rest of your time living as these kinds of people…

    The universe will give you this back somehow… I have to believe that.

    I hate that you are even a topic.
    You should be arrested for what you have said…
    I have no doubt that fate, life or the harsh realities of vigilante justice catch up with you.
    I’m sure people have sisters and mothers and girlfriends they love and who have suffered and im sure these people have some plans for you and a dark alley way…

    1. Rodders · · Reply

      It’s always nice to see a well thought out and intellectually stimulating response to something. I especially like the bit where you suggest trampling on our constitutional right to freedom of speech by wanting these guys arrested for making a joke on a PRIVATE Facebook conversation. Or the fact that you’re so angry at said joke you would condone all kinds of violence being perpetrated on these two writers, because of their joke about a violent act – no hypocrisy there at all!
      If you are representative of the type of people they offended with their joke, then my only disappointment is that they didn’t do more to make you apoplectic, as you clearly deserve the high blood pressure and heart palpitations that I am equally sure this response will give you…

  23. Evalina van Wijk · · Reply

    I am very concern about the filthy language some of you are using. A mature and mental healthy person confront another person’s wrong behaviour without attacking the person. Please people stop this type of language e.g. using the word fuck, shit etc. Please do not understand me wrong-I do not condone their behaviour at all, but to act and phrase your comments the way you did is socially unacceptable. Please read the comments of Chad Rayner and many others-they bring accross their message/points without using filty language- is not cool and impress nobody-using filthy language in the open media is not only bad taste, its against the policies of the media.

  24. Jeanne · · Reply

    Tweedle dum and Tweedle dummer.

  25. Jordan Leaslie · · Reply

    Both of you are sicker than you realize. You are not apologetic at all.So please shut up and fade away quietly.

  26. […] particular, she unpacked the FHM scandal, looking in particular at the apology issued by Max Barashenkov and Montle Moroosi. She noted the words used in the apology – such […]

  27. Creeps. That’s not an apology. You are only sorry that people had the audacity to disagree with you and to be outraged at your vile and despicable comments.

  28. Chris Gengan · · Reply

    no use apologising now, the damage has been done akready and you guys still have the nerve to try and justify what you said. would you guys have joked about this rape if it was your mother or sister or wife or daughter? you see this as a private joke between you guys, its disgusting to joke about about something so serious, private or otherwise. where is your compassion for this woman who was raped and for the thousands who were raped. I FOR ONE DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR SORRY EXCUSE OF AN APOLOGY. next time think before you open your mouth.

  29. Rodders · · Reply

    To Max and Montle: I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it (preferably without it having to be followed up by spittle-flecked invective and bile that is so outraged you end up losing your jobs over a private conversation held outside of office hours).

    In fact, I wonder if any of the hate-filled people commenting on your letter of apology will get into trouble with their bosses for the comments they have made (such as suggesting you be subject to vigilante justice in a dark alley) – but somehow, I doubt it, since threats to your life are nowhere near as bad as making one ill-informed and tasteless joke!!

    1. You’ll defend to the death their right to say stuff like “semen receptacles”, “blooming fields of pussy” and “rape can be a romantic experience”? I know freedom of speech is an important right, but speech like THIS isn’t worth fighting for.

      1. Rodders · ·

        Sadly it’s all worth fighting for, because once you remove one person’s right to express their views (however puerile and disgusting), you also remove the barrier that prevents your comments (however well-educated and literate) from being attacked, and there is just as much chance that the thought police will come for you at some point in time…

    2. I agree that free speech is not a real right unless it protects our right to say offensive/ controversial things. Because, if it stood only to protect the nice things we say, then what’s the point?

      However, there comes a point where certain speech is indefensible, when looked at from a weighing of rights perspective. Rape jokes and being flippant about rape is damaging to society. We could all be rattling off rape jokes and having a good old laugh, thinking “it’s funny because none of us would ever rape anyone lol lol lol we’re such a good bunch of people”, but the one rapist or potential rapist in the room hears that joke, and it reinforces his perception of rape as “not a big deal”.

      You know what the current landscape in this country is – people are being horribly raped and killed… People are angry about it, and they have a right to be. Maybe the right to joke about rape is not as important as my right to live in a country where people don’t think it’s OK to rape others. And the “spittle” and anger is perhaps just impotent rage, sure. But people are angry about this issue, and that’s a good thing. If you read the papers and see that a someone has just been, quite literally, raped to death, then maybe consider that a corrective rape joke wouldn’t be the best thing to put out there, because it’s not all about your right to make idiotic jokes.

  30. FHM, if you are really sorry why don’t you just stop printing that smut? Please cease to exist. The world would be a healthier place without you and the ‘in your face’ billboards promulgating lust and the degradation of women. Your comment ‘we’re writing about what we believe in’ is just absurd. What do you believe in? Lust, perversion, that every house should have porn on their coffee table? I suppose you think porn is just a party without a consequence? That it doesn’t hurt people and destroy marriages? Or that it’s not really addictive? Well rape is a consequence, and the industry that you promote brings momentary pleasure but the end is death! It slowly poisons people and holds them captive in a prison that’s very difficult to get out of. Momentary pleasure as your soul dies. How sad. As a wife and mother of 3 I am grieved and saddened by what FHM promotes.

  31. […] two writers’ apology came in the form of a statement released on the WordPress platform after they were suspended by […]

  32. […] First, a quick recap. Laugh It Off, famous for parodying South African brands in a cheeky and, it had always seemed, satirical manner, accused the brand Jay Jay’s of ripping off one of their designs (Jay Jays counter-claimed that the design in question was not created by Laugh It Off and existed on the internet sans copyright). Laugh It Off tried to couch this accusation in satire by posting an open letter on Mahala that changing the Js in the Jay Jays logo to Gs, making it Gay Gays. Rebecca Davis of Daily Maverick picked up on it and tweeted, and then there was outrage. Andy Davis, whose Mahala had posted the open letter, quickly posted an opinion piece that’s central thrust was “maybe Laugh It Off went too far but what about the guys who stole copyright?” Nowhere in this back-pedalling did Davis acknowledge that the post was wrong, or even that Mahala had hosted the open letter in the first place. Tweets were tweeted, scorn was heaped, and then Laugh It Off’s Bartlett put out this David Lurie-esque justification / non apology that (as Nicky Falkof pointed out on Daily Maverick) was very similar to the non-apology made by rape-jokeists Max Barashenkov and Montle Moorosi of ex-FHM notoriety. […]

  33. I think they make a good point.

  34. Hello, you post interesting articles on your site, you deserve much
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  35. […] and Barashenkov wrote a letter of apology to South Africans and apologised to survivors of rape but, also challenged the multitudes of people […]

  36. […] and Montle then issued an aggressive non-apology in which they accuse South Africans of embarking on a ‘witch hunt’ (way to instrumentalise the […]

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