Food blogger Imaran Omar seen at the Durban Magistrates Court on Friday ahead of his appearance, where he is accused of alleged verbal abuse. Picture: Oliver Meth

Durban - Two of Durban’s online personalities are embroiled in a legal spat after one of them, food blogger Imran Omar, allegedly swore and called Theshen 'Aunty Sheila' Naicker a derogatory term aimed at the homosexual community. 

Naicker approached the court seeking a protection order and is also suing for reputational damages to the tune of R850 000.

The two appeared before the Durban Magistrates Court on Friday, where Naicker had been seeking a protection order against Omar. Through his lawyer Faizel Kara, Omar opposed the application. 

They sat on opposite sides of the court bench, with Omar ushered by his bodyguard. The matter was adjourned for October.

Naicker's lawyer, Theasen Pillay said his client had been robbed of his dignity.

“He has chosen to take the legal route as an example of the recourse there is when you have been robbed of your dignity, demeaned and disrespected for your sexual preference,” Pillay said.

Just before the protection order adjournment, outside the court, a civil claims summons was handed to Omar, who said he is considering his legal options.

Naicker is claiming for reputational damages of R850 000. 

In the court papers, he states that Omar’s “choice and use of derogatory, defamatory and slanderous words were intended to cause emotional trauma, anxiety and insult” on his sexual orientation, leaving him “scarred, emotionally distressed, anguished and physically violated”.

Naicker’s attorney said this has drastically reduced his social gatherings and engagements due to his weakened emotional state and the feeling of being victimised.

“No one is above the law and perpetrators must understand that not everyone will be a victim, there are those that will rise up to the challenge and fight. Fight not physically and barbarically, but through lawful means available,” said Pillay.

He added that this matter represents an overall unacceptable societal intolerance.

“There's no place for such racial, gender or homophobic bias in our community and we are committed to fighting against such injustices.”

It is alleged Omar repeatedly swore and called Naicker by a derogatory homophobic slur at the Pavilion Hotel, where both Omar and Naicker had attended a social event. 

Naicker claims to have greeted Omar “politely” while trying to pass him in the passage, when he allegedly verbally abused and shoved him around.

Omar said he had been advised not to publicly comment on the matter but however added that “people have presumed what he (Naicker) is saying is the correct version, the facts have been distorted, that's not what happened.”

Police are also investigating a case of assault.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE