NEWS

Suspect in Alleged Grietfest Gay-bashing Identified

01/09/2017 13:31 SAST | Updated 01/09/2017 13:31 SAST
Grietfest / supplied

The suspect in an alleged gay-bashing incident at a popular Johannesburg music festival has been identified after a nationwide social media crowdsourcing hunt.

However, organisers of the festival say they have since been contacted by a police colonel who said the suspect didn't commit the assault, and would in turn be laying a defamation charge against the organisers.

"The suspect messaged us with his phone number [after we shared his picture] asking us to call him. We declined and [instead] handed his details to the family [of the assault victim], as we feel this is where we should step aside," Dominique Gawlowski from Grietfest told HuffPost on Friday.

"I struggle to believe he didn't do it when there were so many witnesses that identified him [as the alleged perpetrator]." Gawlowski added.

Brandon Swanepoel was attacked at Grietfest on Saturday night by a man who claimed that Swanepoel was innapropriately touching him. The man broke several bones in Swanepoel's face and mouth, resulting in the need for major reconstructive surgeries.

After a major uproar from the LGBTQI community in response to the original HuffPost article, the organisers and various other organisations are banding together to raise funds for Swanepoel, who doesn't have the means to pay for the surgeries.

"We are helping Brandon's friends out with a fundraiser being held on September 7 at the Good Luck Bar to help raise funds for his medical and legal expenses. We are sponsoring Haezer to do a performance and have also asked Olmeca to donate tequila [to sell at] the event. I'm really happy we managed to find the guy in the photos, it would have been a dreadful outcome if we didn't," Gawlowski said.

The colonel in charge of the case has been approached for comment, but has not been in touch with HuffPost.