Miss SA mum on bullying allegations against finalist Levern José after ex-schoolmates speak out

14 June 2023 - 11:30
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Miss SA top 12 finalist Levern José has been accused of being a bully.
Image: Levern José/Instagram Miss SA top 12 finalist Levern José has been accused of being a bully.

Miss South Africa top 12 finalist Levern José has been accused of being a bully in high school after some of her former schoolmates spoke out on social media.

José, a 23-year-old from Kimberley, Northern Cape, came under fire after the beauty pageant announced the top 12 finalists vying for the crown, with some accusing her of bullying them and leaving them “traumatised”.

Some said they were surprised José was considered a finalist in the competition due to her alleged actions in the past. 

Since the accusations surfaced, José has deactivated comments on her Instagram and is yet to publicly address the accusations against her.

Janine Walker from Nine Squared Media, who handles media enquiries on behalf of Miss SA, told OFM News the organisation has no comment on the issue. 

“I have spoken to the CEO Stephanie Weil. She and the Miss South Africa organisation have no comment to make,” she said.

Attempts to contact José and Miss SA for additional comment were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article. Any update will be included once received.

This is not the first time a Miss SA contestant has found themselves in hot water. In 2020 Miss South Africa hopeful Bianca Schoombee withdrew her entry after racist tweets she made years earlier resurfaced. Some of Schoombee's now-deleted tweets referred to the N-word, repeatedly used the word “bitches” and body-shamed women. 

“There is good governance in place to ensure Miss SA finalists and semi-finalists align with our values. Our rules state any semifinalist or finalist may not have been involved in any unsavoury or unethical incidents or conduct that may bring the organisers or the Miss SA pageant into disrepute,” Weil said at the time. 

“Unsavoury or unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to, bribery, racism, sexism, slander or libel.”

The 2023 winner will be crowned at the SunBet Arena at Time Square, Pretoria, on August 13.

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