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SA seething over racist tweet

2012-05-04 20:01
Johannesburg - South Africans were seething on social networking site Twitter on Friday after a racist tweet by model Jessica Leandra made the rounds.

On Thursday evening, Leandra told her 2 591 followers: "Just, well took on an arrogant and disrespectful kaffir inside Spar. Should have punched him, should have [sic]."

Leandra, who was men's magazine FHM model of the year in 2011, has since deleted the post and issued an apology on her blog

"I tweeted rather irresponsibly about an incident I encountered last night [Thursday], using a harsh and unkind word about the gentleman who had confronted me with sexual remarks and sounds," she wrote in her apology.

"While most of you would enjoy the opportunity to throw a few vicious words at me, please do understand that I was acting in pure anger and frustration at the time and although we know this is no excuse, it is a lesson learnt and again, I am sincerely apologetic."

Stripped of her title

FHM South Africa took to Twitter to voice its distaste at Leandra's comment.

"We're horrified any1 would say such things! Those attitudes have no place in society or FHM! [sic]."

The magazine's editor Brendan Cooper, in a statement on the FHM website on Friday, said Leandra had been stripped of her title as winner of the FHM Modelbook 2011 competition with immediate effect.

"It’s important to us that it is noted that she in no way represents the magazine; she was merely the winner of an online poll we ran, and that we totally distance ourselves from her blatantly racist comments.

"We have removed all pictures of her from our website and will have nothing to do with her in future."

QuickTrim SA, one of her sponsors, tweeted: "Due to the severity of the remarks by #JessicaLeandra #QuickTrimSA herewith ends our sponsorship to her with immediate effect!"

Despite Leandra's apology, South Africa's Twitter community was still not happy.

Down with racism

Columnist Mabine Seabe wrote on the social networking site that he had lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.

"I have lodged a complaint against Jessica Leandra with the Human Rights Commission on the basis of crimen injuria and libel. #DownWithRacism.

"SAHRC acknowledges my complaint against Jessica Leandra #DownWithRacism."

Another twitter user wrote: "Darling, even if your mangling of language was acceptable, your disgusting racism is not."

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane wrote on twitter: "Just heard about racist tweets from Jessica Leandra. Not good enough to say you were angry. Racism can never be justified. #DownWithRacism."

Another user tweeted: "Dear Jessica Leandra, deleting a tweet does not make you any less racist. You made the mistake of publicly announcing you are, deal with it."

By Friday afternoon Leandra was trending on Twitter.
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