Miss South Africa hopeful Bianca Schoombee has issued an apology for a series of past tweets that have gone viral on social media.
In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, Schoombee said she posted the tweets six years ago when she was 14 years old.
“I would like to profusely apologise for putting it out to the universe then; however, I would like to make you all aware that I have grown as a person. This is no longer who I am or what I stand for,” she wrote.
‘I hope SA can forgive me’
Social media users unearthed the tweets on Tuesday, just a day after Schoombee announced that she had entered the 2020 beauty pageant.
They featured strong language, such as the N and B-words, as well as skin and body shaming. In one of the tweets, she commented on a picture of a young boy and wrote, “He’s so black they had to change the background to white.”
In her apology, Schoombee added that she has “dealt” with her past by “praying,” adding, “It’s important to forgive yourself. I really hope that SA can forgive me for these immature posts, as I have forgiven myself and moved on.
“I really do hope that you continue to support me, as we all deserve a second chance. I love you South Africa. God bless.”
Miss South Africa CEO reacts
In a statement, Miss South Africa CEO Stephanie Weil said the pageant will only assess entrants once the deadline for submissions, which is 31 May, has passed.
She added, “Once we have a selection of potential semi-finalists we run the necessary background checks. There is good governance in place to ensure that Miss South Africa finalists and semi-finalists align with our values.
“Our rules state that any semi-finalist or finalist may not have been involved in any unsavoury or unethical incidents or conduct that may bring the organisers or the Miss South Africa pageant into disrepute.”
Meanwhile, Schoombee’s agency, SYNC Models, backed her in a series of tweets on Wednesday. It urged people “not to dwell on the past” and said Schoombee has “grown holistically as a person.”
The agency added, “When we signed Bianca in 2018, she still to this day represents exceptional qualities such as a positive outlook on life; extremely well mannered; strong work ethic; being poised, graceful and confident; [and] possesses the quality of a leader that is relatable.
“Bianca is a winner all the way no matter what. She is a leader that is adaptable and focused entirely on representing SA. SYNC Models will continue the representation of Bianca and support her endeavours leading up to @Official_MissSA. Thank you.”
Schoombee had apparently deactivated her Twitter page at the time of publishing this article.