The United States will soon be welcoming one of Kenya’s most outspoken anti-gay rights campaigners to attend a Google conference on digital literacy and safety.
Ezekiel Mutua, head of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), who has been on a crusade to ban any content that “promotes homosexuality” bragged on Facebook that he had no trouble getting a US visa to attend Google’s Web Rangers global summit at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.
On Twitter and Facebook, Kenyans called Mutua a petty and dangerous religious zealot. Others asked if the US could keep him. In response, Mutua called one of his detractors a “bloody fool” and took down his Facebook post.
As head of the government agency that regulates all visual content in the country, Mutua is best known for demanding that Youtube take down a music video celebrating gay love. (Youtube kept it online but flagged it for “potentially inappropriate” content.) Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Kenya, punishable with up to 14 years in prison.
Mutua also banned a film made by the arts collective Nest, Stories of Our Lives, based the Kenya’s LGBT community; a podcast hosted by a lesbian actor and singer duo; and a gay speed-dating event in Nairobi. When Netflix first launched in Kenya, Mutua called it a threat to the country’s “moral values and national security.”
Earlier this month, Mutua also described atheism as a form of radicalization. ”The crusade on moral values is gathering momentum,” he said.
Google confirmed that Mutua has been invited to the summit, an internal event for policymakers and advocates for online safety around the world.
“Politicians have many questions about the internet and Google. To help answer these questions Google has a team that engages with and responds to queries from politicians and sometimes we invite them to events so they can get an understanding of the work we do,” a representative for Google Kenya said.