Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, has been ousted from a pro-gay “It Gets Better” campaign being launched in Cape Town, South Africa.
In a video cut from the campaign, Pistorius says, “You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to change. Take a deep breath and remember, ‘It will get better.'"
Pistorius also has been ousted from an advertising campaign for Clarins Group, which owns Thierry Mugler Perfumes. The company said in an email that “out of respect and compassion for the families involved in this tragedy, Thierry Mugler Perfumes have taken the decision to withdraw all of their advertising campaigns featuring Oscar Pistorius.”
The announcements came on Feb. 19, as Pistorius appeared in court with his defense lawyer, who read the athlete’s account of how he shot his girlfriend to death on Valentine’s Day. He claim he mistook her for an intruder.
Prosecutors, however, told a packed courtroom that the double-amputee known as the Blade Runner intentionally and mercilessly shot and killed 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp as she cowered inside a locked bathroom.
The Valentine’s Day shooting in Pistorius’ home in Pretoria shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized him for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian. Steenkamp was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast two days after her death.
In a major point of contention that emerged during the bail hearing, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Pistorius took the time to put on his prostheses, walked from the bed to the enclosed toilet inside his bathroom and only then opened fire. Three of the four bullets fired hit Steenkamp.
Pistorius said in his sworn statement that after opening fire, he realized that Steenkamp was not in his bed.
“It filled me with horror and fear,” Pistorius said. The 26-year-old Olympian said he put on his prosthetic legs and tried to kick down the door before bashing it in with a cricket bat. Inside, he said he found Steenkamp, slumped over. He said he lifted her bloodied body into his arms and tried to carry her downstairs to seek medical help.
“She died in my arms,” the athlete said.
Nel charged Pistorius with premeditated murder and said the athlete opened fire after the couple engaged in a shouting match and she fled to the bathroom.
“She couldn’t go anywhere. You can run nowhere,” Nel said. “It must have been horrific.”
Outside the court, several dozen women protested against domestic violence and waved placards urging that Pistorius be refused bail. “Pistorius must rot in jail,” one placard said.
South Africa has some of the world’s worst rates of violence against females and the highest rate in the world of women killed by an intimate partner, according to a study by the Medical Research Council. Professor Rachel Jewkes of the council said at least three women are killed by a partner every day in the country of 50 million.
Steenkamp campaigned actively against domestic violence and had tweeted on Twitter that she planned to join a “Black Friday” protest by wearing black in honor of a 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and mutilated two weeks ago.
What “she stood for, and the abuse against women, unfortunately it’s gone right around and I think the Lord knows that statement is more powerful now,” her uncle Mike Steenkamp, the family’s spokesman, said.