CONTENT WARNING: The following article references allegations of abuse. If you or someone you know is having a hard time, resources are always available to you at thehotline.org or at 1-800-799-7233.
After Zheani Sparkes brought her story to light, allegations continue to hurl in and out of the Die Antwoord camp. Now, the concern comes from Ben Jay Crossman, Die Antwoord’s former videographer. Crossman also uses the pseudonym Kobus Holnaaier in relation to the band.
Crossman started posting on Instagram under the handle @rolling_with_the_devil. He shared photos and videos of Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yo-Landi Visser (Anri du Toit) as he sorted through 23TB of video gathered during his time with the band. He was planning an exposé documentary about Die Antwoord, tagging one of his posts with “#imalsoworkingonamovieandibetyouminewillbemorerealthanyours.”
“I had been programmed and groomed to lie and cover for them.”
Crossman released a video titled “Freedom of Hate Speech” via YouTube. This video has now been removed via a copyright takedown notice from Die Antwoord.
In the video: Jones and du Toit responding to a comment on their Facebook page (sometime between March and July 2012). The commenter, whose name is Reu, writes, “I luv you bruh but you aint no ni**a even mm [Eminem] knows not to go there.” du Toit and Jones react to the comment by exchanging the same word several times, mocking the commenter. Jones replies to the comment with “fu* u reu…yer mumz in my hotel room.” du Toit then assures him and says, “You should say ni**a if you want to say ni**a because you’ve got freedom of speech, bitch.”
Watch for yourself: [Freedom of Hate Speech]
The phone call
In May of this year, Crossman spoke with du Toit over the phone. During the 18 minute exchange, Crossman mentions an incident that occurred in Australia several times. You can hear parts of this exchange on YouTube, courtesy of Edwin’s Generation.
“Dude, do you know, like – if I told people what you did in Australia…”
Crossman gives du Toit an ultimatum: Either Die Antwoord will be in his film or they need to make a “public apology to the guy in Australia.”
“I’m not apologizing. I didn’t do anything wrong, so what else do you want me to do,” du Toit responds.
The incident in Australia
On July 18, Crossman posted a video titled “One Night in Adelaide” to his YouTube channel. This video shows an interaction that took place at the Adelaide stop of the 2012 Future Music Festival. Crossman says that Jones and du Toit had their sights set on Butler and had been pestering him from the beginning of the festival tour. Butler mentions another interaction he had with Die Antwoord in an interview with Pedestrian.TV. On the fifth and final night of the tour, tension bubbled to the point of a physical altercation.
In the video: Jones, du Tout, Crossman, and Diak Voigt, the band’s sound technician, chase after Butler. Jones yells “it’s nice to see you” and spits in Butler’s face. Butler throws his drink on Jones and a fight occurs.
After Butler runs away, Jones shushes du Toit and instructs her not to laugh. Jones began to coach the group on what they are to say. “Now here’s the story guys. He walked up on this young girl and he felt her bum and her tits and she’s upset,” he said, “Don’t laugh anymore.”
The group wanders around the backstage area, telling several people of the encounter while du Toit covers her face. The story changes – now, instead of a ‘young girl,’ it’s du Toit. Jones comments on du Toit’s “performance,” saying “she’s like Marilyn Monroe, this is an Oscar award-winning scene.”
Event staff offer to call police and Jones declines, instead using the moment to theatrically explain his encounter with Butler. du Toit smiles at the camera multiple times.
In the description of the video, Crossman writes that du Toit later confessed to the crew (including DH Hi-tek, Diak, and their tour managers).
“I knew the rest of the time, so I’m guilty for covering – I didn’t say anything. You have to understand, that was my flight home, I worked with these people. I had been programmed and groomed to lie and cover for them. Same as DJ Hi-tek, Same as Diak, same as every single member of their crew,” Crossman said.
Jones, du Toit, Sparkes, and Butler could not be reached for comment.
Update: 7/22 – A link was added for the video titled “Freedom of Hate Speech” (removed from YouTube).
Update: 8/25 – downinthepit’s coverage of this incident was removed from YouTube for a “privacy violation.”