Amid mounting allegations of bullying directed towards her, Levern José, one of the esteemed Top 12 finalists, has made the decision to withdraw from the Miss SA pageant.
As the voices advocating for the pageant’s intervention grew louder, this determined BCom Law student, reflecting upon her own past experiences of being bullied, decided to remove herself from the competition.
While numerous women came forward to share their experiences of being bullied by Levern during their high school years, the Miss SA organization initially maintained a silence on the matter. However, they have recently broken their silence and dismissed the allegations as baseless.
In a statement released on Monday, 19 June, Miss SA addressed the stress that the recent events have had on Levern José, the former finalist. The organization revealed that she has sought counseling from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), recognizing the emotional strain she has endured in the past few weeks.
“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.
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.”Levern José on her reason to leave the Miss SA pageant
The Miss SA organization has expressed its utmost respect for Levern’s decision and unequivocally denounces any form of bullying.
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“Miss South Africa organisation does not condone bullying of any kind. We accept Levern’s decision to pull out of the competition and respect her for owning her truth and taking this time to focus on her own healing.”