The Miss South Africa (Miss SA) pageant has revealed that Levern José – the Top 12 finalist who quit the competition- will not be replaced.
Last month, the BCom Law student announced her decision to prematurely end her pageant journey. This, after coming under fire over allegations relating to her past.
On Twitter, multiple social media users accused the brunette beauty of being a high-school bully.
The Miss SA grand finale takes place on Sunday, 13 August at the SunBet Arena in Pretoria.
MISS SA WILL NOT REPLACE TOP 12 CONTESTANT
In a statement to The South African, Miss SA pageant organisers revealed that Levern José would not be replaced in the Top 12.
Levern, however, would still be seen on television via the pageant’s docuseries Crown Chasers, which kicks off on Saturday, 8 July on SABC3. The five-part series gives a behind-the-scenes account of the real-life challenges of the contestants.
Crown Chasers will be presented by former Miss SA and Miss Universe winner Zozi Tunzi.
LEVERN JOSE: ‘I BELIEVE IN MY OWN ACCOUNTABILITY’
In the statement last month, Levern José claimed that she had also been a victim of bullying, adopting a coping mechanism to “protect” herself. She also apologised to the women she had hurt in high school.
She said: “As a survivor of bullying, I learned how to protect myself from bullying during my school years. If my actions in protecting myself caused harm to anyone, I offer my sincere apologies. The pain of being a target has left an indelible mark on my heart, and I would never intentionally cause hurt or contribute to someone else’s suffering.”
Levern introspected on the lesson she had learned: “Kindness, respect, and empathy have always been my guiding principles, and I have unwaveringly worked to adhere to these values.
“It deeply troubles me that such grave accusations could be levelled against me. While I firmly believe in my own accountability and responsibility, I also hold steadfastly to the principles of fairness and justice”.
On why she quit Miss SA, she added: “All forms of abuse and bullying are unacceptable and have no place in our society. Please know that I am determined to work against bullying and to bring about wider awareness about this issue.
“I am unwavering in my stance to upholding what is right and just. I am human; the pressure has been immense and has taken its toll on me. Together, let us strive for fairness and compassion in all our interactions with others,”
Pageant CEO Stephanie Weil has accepted Levern’s decision, adding: “The Miss South Africa Organisation does not condone bullying of any kind. …We respect her for owning her truth and taking this time to focus on her own healing”.