JOHANNESBURG — A South African judge has ruled that an art gallery exhibit featuring an expletive and the words “white people” was not hate speech and was instead a legitimate effort to generate debate about race.

Magistrate Daniel Thulare on Tuesday dismissed a complaint by a small political party in Western Cape province against the exhibit, part of a display called “The Art of Disruptions” at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town.

The piece by Dean Hutton, an art student at the University of Cape Town, showed gold-colored boots, a chair and wallpaper showing the expletive and the words “white people” numerous times. Hutton is white.

In his ruling, Thulare says Hutton’s work “was intended to be challenging and provocative.”

White minority rule in South Africa ended in 1994.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.