Cape Town – A US pastor who made headlines for praising the mass killings of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida has had his plans for Johannesburg events scuppered by South African businesses not wanting to associate with him.
Pastor Steven L Anderson from the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, will be making his way to Johannesburg in September for a promised "soul-winning marathon".
Anderson promised to start the marathon on September 18 with a breakfast at the Spur in Festival Mall, Kempton Park, and then lunch at the shopping centre's Wimpy.
But both fast food franchises have told the pastor they will be having none of his anti-gay preaching.
Spur Steak Ranches said it had been made aware of Anderson’s plans and tweeted on Tuesday: "We, as the Spur Group, are reserving our right to prohibit this person [from] entering any Spur restaurants as his views are contrary to the non-discriminatory and openly tolerant stance of our brand."
And in a statement on its Facebook page, Wimpy South Africa wrote: "Anderson is widely recognised for his homophobic pronouncements and has been accused of inciting hate speech."
Nowhere to stay
"Wimpy has advised Anderson that the business will not permit him to conduct public preaching or religious gatherings in its restaurants. Wimpy reserves the right to prohibit him from entering any Wimpy restaurant," the restaurant chain added.
And adding to his woes, the preacher might have to look for a place to stay while visiting Johannesburg because Premier Hotels and Resorts also took the decision to deny him entry.
"As a South African company, we support the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom laid out in this cornerstone of our country's democracy.
"We reserve the right of admission to any of our properties and will be exercising this right in this instance," the hotel chain said.
Complaining about the cancellation, Anderson's church asked its Facebook followers to give the hotel chain a one-star rating.
The hotel also received many messages of support.
After the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Anderson published a video on YouTube in which he stated: "The good news is that there's 50 less paedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and paedophiles."
In December 2014, Anderson preached to followers: "...if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn't have all this Aids running rampant."
A petition has also been launched to urge Home Affairs to bar Anderson from entering South Africa.