The two writers’ apology came in the form of a statement released on the WordPress platform after they were suspended by FHM.
“We apologise 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,” read the opening sentences of the statement.
“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.”
Furthermore the two writers said the use of force against a defenseless person is “perhaps the worst crime,” which should not escape the “harshest means of prosecution”.
The statement then referred to the coverage of the incident as “media madness” and asked readers to bear in mind that their posts on the social media platform where made made from their personal Facebook accounts with the “friends only” privacy settings active.
Barashenkov and Moorosi then pointed out the incident and social media furore garnered much more attention than the Zozo case itself, which prompted them to ask the questions: “How violently did you tweet and scream and rage when the actual rape cases happened?”
They continued to ask how many of the angry tweeters and Facebook users contributed towards charities dealing with rape, they asked how many volunteered to help and if they “retweeted with the same fervor”.
“Our money is on the fact that 95 per cent of you did nothing.”
“The country reacts to misguided and private jest with a public witch hunt, with name-calling and demonising, 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,” read the statement.
Furthermore, the writers said the jokes had eclipsed other content on South Africa’s media outlets and that this incident trended above former president Nelson Mandela on Mandela Day for a while indicates “a problem far greater”.
“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 trivialised 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,” concluded the statement, with a reiteration of their apology.