Pretty Mike and Freedom of Expression

Every once in a while, celebrities lend their voice to champion causes they believe in, from cancer to education to women’s rights. Pretty Mike has decided to lend his voice (action) to women advocacy, but in a weird way. Pictures of two girls on a dog leash held by Pretty Mike surfaced online and opinions…


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Every once in a while, celebrities lend their voice to champion causes they believe in, from cancer to education to women’s rights. Pretty Mike has decided to lend his voice (action) to women advocacy, but in a weird way. Pictures of two girls on a dog leash held by Pretty Mike surfaced online and opinions flew around. To put someone on a dog leash sort of paints the picture of control, of dominance. It is not a picture that is uncommon in our society – the picture of men’s dominance over women. This didn’t go unnoticed on social media. He was called out, criticized, and subsequently arrested by the police.

Many people have commended Governor Ambode and the Police for taking actions to protect women’s rights. In our very patriarchal society, where FGM and other atrocities are committed against women, it is praise-worthy to find out that the governor would not condone such a degrading treatment to women. In contrast, Kemi Olunloyo is disappointed in the governor. She claims Pretty Mike was engaging in a foreign practice used on catwalks and that putting girls on a leash is a form of freedom of expression. So Pretty Mike wanted to express himself by putting girls on a leash? I am confused as to what he could have been trying to say.

Some people think the fault lies with the girls for agreeing to do such a thing, but in a country like ours, people will agree to do anything for money. Freedom of expression is certainly allowed in the constitution but should it go to the extent of dehumanizing another human being or causing harm?

Pretty Mike, after being released, put up a statement saying he was advocating for women. By putting them on a leash? In what way does putting those girls on a leash advocate for women? I am confused as to what Pretty Mike’s definition of advocacy for women is.

Some people are of the opinion that the girls consented and so that makes it okay. It actually doesn’t. I asked a lawyer, and he had this to say.

“It doesn’t matter if they consented. Dehumanizing acts are against the law. Consent cannot make them legal.”

It’s almost akin to your friend asking you to kill him or her. Murder is still illegal, regardless of whether your friend wanted to be killed or not.

But what does feminism have to say about this? Isn’t the idea of feminism to create a space and place where women are allowed to choose what they want for themselves? If a woman chooses to be a man’s bitch, so be it, right? If a woman wants or chooses to stay in an abusive relationship, so be it, right? If you want to be killed, that makes it okay? I think not. If we think and act along this line, then we would allow a lot of detrimental ideas and practices slide.

Over to you. Where do we draw the line between dehumanizing or degrading acts and consent? Who determines what counts as dehumanizing? If someone is in a dire financial situation, can they ever truly give consent? Let me know what do you think about these questions and this whole Pretty Mike issue.


Photo Credit : PULSENG


  1. Morris
    *Sigh… I just had to google him to understand. My conclusion, he needs therapy. To think he was well dressed and attending events (and allowed into the events) in such a manner, how much money does he have???
  2. Omotola Ajibade
    Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. It would be one thing if they were forced into it, but from the looks of things, these were all consenting adults. Forcing him to release a statement that effectively says consent doesn’t matter means that we’re setting a dangerous precedent in which people have no agency or bodily autonomy.

    I’m frankly amazed that he had the balls to do this in public, but I don’t necessarily think that he should be criminalized for do it or that he necessarily needs therapy as @morris suggests. Having money and being well dressed has nothing to do with what’s going on here.

    The fact of the matter is Pretty Mike is engaging a kind of practice that is actually fairly common in Kink and BDSM communities all over the world (including Nigeria). What Pretty Mike is doing is actually rather tame compared to what other people do in those communities. As crazy as it sounds, these communities generally emphasize trust and consent above everything else. You would never just be able to randomly put a collar on someone, much less a leash, without their permission.

    Acting like otherwise rational adults shouldn’t be trusted to decide what they can and cannot have done to their own bodies flies in the face of what most ethicists and legal scholars would agree is the most basic level of autonomy.

    1. BlackPearl
      Hi Tola,
      While i understand where you’re coming from about BDSM and fetish communities and the things they get into, let’s remember that there are clubs and stuff that things like this (and like you said, even more intense things occur). You won’t see the average ‘master’ bring his ‘slave’ to a respectable event on a leash or having her crawling around in front of him. That’s a place and time for such things and if this had been in one of the appropriate places, the conversation would be different. But in a culture where most people don’t understand that and where women’s rights are still rather laughable, ignoring something like this, when done in front of everybody would be bad. I don’t know any of the parties involved but I’m sure I’ll win a bet that the girls did it for the money faster than I’ll win one that they did it because they’re in a trusting BDSM relationship with the dude. So in the long run, I think it’s good he was reprimanded for doing it and putting it out there like that! Can’t be having him start a trend like this one abeg!
      1. Omotola Ajibade
        Hey Boo, Long time!!!!! We should debate this in person one of these days.

        But yeah, I disagree with the money thing. Just because someone offers you money doesn’t mean you have to take it. You still have the agency to be able to say no if you’re not interested. It would be different if he coerced the girls and gave them money to silence them, but based on the (albeit circumstantial) evidence presented, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

        That said, I don’t see this becoming a public trend.

  3. Morris
    Lol. This world is just too interesting for my own good.

    Well, i saw it was called ‘dehumanising …’ and therefore it was a criminal act, as i saw. (No, i have never read the constitution) . What informed my therapy comment was that i saw/read he seldom drinks from a feeding bottle (meant for babies) in public.

    I honestly think his act was just ‘fashion’ to him, BDSM and Kink has it’s place.

    The writer’s question – Where do we draw the line between dehumanizing or degrading acts and consent? Who determines what counts as dehumanizing? – is what we need to answer sha.

    When you say you don’t have a problem with it, do you mean you wouldn’t mind seeing it around you or what?

    1. Omotola Ajibade
      If I don’t want to see it, I can look away.

      Personally, I have no interest in putting anyone on a leash or in dehumanizing anyone. Serious irreparable bodily harm is where I would draw the line. There was a case in Germany where someone put out an open call to find someone who was willing to be killed and eaten. This to me crossed the line.

      In fairness, I don’t know if this was associated with any of Kink or Fetish, but this was a case of two consenting adults mutually conspiring to be the perpetration and recipient of extreme bodily harm.

      Clearly this is the most extreme example possible, but yeah. Short of anything remotely close to this, I’m not sure that I would care that much or even at all.

  4. Omotayo
    Lol. But this is how most men in Nigeria treat women. Is it because we can finally physically see the leash?
    If the government can agree that it is dehumanising then they have a million more arrests to make. After all, consenting to be in an abusive relationship doesn’t matter.
  5. Bambixi
    The freedom of expression that is only applicable to one gender is simply privilege, not freedom. That is my take. A woman would not get away so easily were the scripts flipped. Equity is important in ability to express.

    Posted from TNC Mobile

    1. Omotola Ajibade
      If there was a man who consented to being collared and leashed in public by a woman, I would defend them too. But I do agree that given the gender norms in Nigeria, this is likely a one sided-thing.
  6. Larz
    So you marry a 14 / 16 yo whose parent agreed the marriage for her and it is ok

    You rape a girl and it is settled by family, it is ok

    You sleep with your househelp, and it is ok

    You “discipline” or abuse your househelp and it is fine

    You even slap your lover (gf/ bf/ wife) and nothing do you

    But you pay 2 runs girl to wear a leash in public (they prbly over charged you because it is a public arrangement and their reputation would be hit) and you end up in jail?

  7. Toby
    HAHAHAHAHAHA, y’all crack me up, so lets pour some kerosine on this.
    In most cases of BDSM and Kink play, the idea that the dom is in control is actually just an issue of perception. the moment the sub or in this case the girls say, well bleep this, i aint having it no more, they take off thier collars and sashay away, he is just standing there with his bottle in his hand.
    I understand this, when I first saw the picture i did not know how to feel, on the one hand WTF is wrong with these chickens allowing such nonsense, on the other hand as a purveyor of all things kink i felt hmm so is this where we are progressing, but i did not dwell so much on the issue because i had to go and turn on the gen seeing as how we had no light or water or any facility that i am paying bills for.
    About the arrest, i commend the governor, but the dude should focus on the main problems and leave these to his aids or Pr peeps. #JustSaying

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