Steve Newman, also known as the Naked Skydiver, has been running a virtual one man campaign to raise money to fight rhino poaching.
His stunts invariably include him being near naked, but he said that concerns about his state of undress were unfounded.
“The only reason I’ve been doing it naked is that everyone seems to be really shy, but we’ve all got the same bits. So it’s not that much of a big deal, really, and it gets noticed,” Newman told News24 recently.
He participated in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the 2013 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour wearing his “horn” to raise money to fight rhino poaching.
But his stunt at the cycle race wasn’t taken lightly; the organisation sent Newman a tersely worded e-mail.
“Please make representations why your entry should not be refused from future Cycle Tours in light of the apparent deliberate breach of the Rules of the Cycle Tour?” the message in possession of News24 says in part.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust said that it received a formal complaint on the attire that Newman wore at the race, though the complainant acknowledged that she saw him after the race, not on his bicycle.
“For the last two or three years we’ve had a number of complaints from the public about the attire at the event, so the Trust took a decision to publish an article The Seven Deadly Sins in our magazine that went out to all participants in this year’s cycle tour,” David Bellairs, Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust director told News24.
He pointed out that the decision to ban Newman was not taken lightly, and added that the ban was only for the 2014 race.
“He hasn’t been banned for life; it’s simply for next year.”
Bellairs said that the Trust was intent on building the tolerance that Cape Town is known for, but had to be sensitive to those who might be offended by participants’ behaviour.
“We encourage the creativity that is typically Cape Town – no question about that – but the difficulty for the Trust is retaining some form of dignity.
“We live in a multi-cultural society where nudity of that nature is offensive to certain people, and we must be sensitive to that.”
For his part, Newman responded that he was interested in raising awareness about the plight of the rhino.
“It was never my intention to embarrass the race organisers nor to act in a manner that was indecent or inappropriate. I am honestly attempting to educate and create awareness for the plight of rhinos in South Africa.
“I go by the pseudonym #NakedSkyDiver and have to date raised in excess of R60 000, all of which has been donated to saving and preserving a dwindling and exploited natural resource.”
The tour accused Newman of deliberately ignoring Rule 2.15 that says a rider is expected to wear “clothing appropriate for a family event at all times”.