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Miss SA top 12 finalist disqualifies herself from competing amid bullying claims

Miss SA Top 12 finalist Levern José has disqualified herself from competing in the 2023 Miss South Africa beauty pageant as she denies bullying allegations levelled at her by former high schoolmates.

Last week, José found herself in the center of bullying allegations on social media after several people claiming to be her former high schoolmates came forward, alleging she was a “ringleader of a bullying squad” years back. 

In the aftermath of the allegations, the Miss South Africa Organisation  released a statement Tuesday, saying José, who instead claimed to have been a victim of  bullying, will no longer participate in the upcoming contest.

The 2023 edition of Miss SA, which opened doors for moms and wives this year, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 13 at The Sun Bet Arena at Time Square Casino in Pretoria.

“If my actions in protecting myself caused harm to anyone, I offer my sincere apologies,” José said in her own defense, adding: “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.” 

In response, the Miss SA said while they dont condone bullying of any kind, “we accept Levern’s decision to pull out of the competition and respect her for owning her truth and focusing on her healing”.

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