South African puppeteer to challenge gag order.

Author:Chutel, Lynsey

Byline: Lynsey Chutel

JOHANNESBURG -- Chester Missing's broad brown face is familiar on South African television where he is known for provocative, funny comments on politics and racial issues. Missing asks South African politicians questions that few others would dare.

Now he has been gagged by a court order to stop challenging a white singer.

Chester Missing is a puppet.

Comedian Conrad Koch, who is the ventriloquist for Missing, says that he will fight the gag order against his puppet in court.

The white comedian strongly denies allegations that tweets criticizing the singer Steve Hofmeyr amount to hate speech.

The singer said the tweets, which came from the Twitter account of the puppet, accused him of racism. He said he obtained a court order barring the ventriloquist and his puppet from making any statements about him in public or on social media.

The ventriloquist said he would not comment directly on the order, "out of respect for court processes.''

"I don't admit to the allegations and will be opposing them strongly, very strongly,'' he said. The case will be heard in a Johannesburg magistrate's court on Nov. 27, according to a statement from the...

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