A noted South African ventriloquist is fighting to lift a gag order banning his puppet from talking about a local singer in public and on social media.
A court placed the gag order against comedian Conrad Koch- who is the voice of the popular Chester Missing- after he sent tweets from the puppet's Twitter account accusing a white singer named Steve Hofmeyr of racism and promoting hate speech, the Associated Press reported.
"I don't admit to the allegations and will be opposing them strongly, very strongly," said Koch, whose puppet Chester has nearly 150,000 Twitter followers.
Koch, who is also white and is known for controversial comments about racism and politics, sent the alleged tweets in response to another tweet the singer sent Nov. 3, where he says the African National Congress is being unfair to white South Africans.
Hofmeyr also talked about the benefits of apartheid, the separation of the races, in a Facebook post.
"Apartheid was cruel, unfortunate and unsustainable, but WHAT inspired that maddening segregation?" Hofmeyr wrote according to the AP.
After the court order was placed Koch tried to quash support for the singer by encouraging South Africans to not use any products associated with him. So far a car dealership said it removed a car sponsored by Hofmeyr, the AP reported.
Though he still performs on TV, the ventriloquist says he does feel he now has to censor what comes out Chester's mouth.
"I do feel like I'm cautious about what I say," Koch told the AP. "I talk about race and culture all the time."
A statement from the singer says a court in Johannesburg is expected to hear the case on Nov. 27.