The Miss South Africa Organisation is appalled with the article that appeared in City Press today (Sunday, June 14) IS SHE OR NOT? which speculates if reigning Miss South Africa Sasha-Lee Olivier is pregnant.
Is Miss SA pregnant?
Is it any of your business?
— JoziStyle (@JoziStyle) June 14, 2020
The writer of the piece Ntombizodwa Makhoba contacted the organisation on Saturday afternoon with the following email: “We have received a picture from our tip-off City Press email, which suggested Miss SA, Sasha-Lee Laurel Olivier is currently pregnant. Please see the picture attached. I would like to know if you are aware of these romours (sic) doing the rounds? Is it true that she is pregnant or it is just people body shaming her? What are the rules for the reigning queen?”
The Miss South Africa Organisation replied, stating categorically that Sasha-Lee is not pregnant. It was left at that. We did not condone entering into any salacious debate about Sasha-Lee’s body given the degrading and discriminatory intentions of this article.
The City Press article also features one Thobile Sithole who is named as a “former Miss South Africa coordinator” and who is quoted at length. The Miss South Africa Organisation has no knowledge of any such person and can state that no-one of that name has worked on the pageant since 2013. A cursory search of the Internet shows no Thobile Sithole in reference to Miss South Africa. To this end, the Miss South Africa Organisation is further appalled by the lack of vetting utilised when asking for official comment and representation from the organisation itself.
In a week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks out against Gender-Based Violence, the Miss South Africa Organisation is horrified about the story and would like to put the following on record:
Sasha-Lee Olivier is not pregnant. City Press was told this in no uncertain terms and chose to disregard our official response in order to capitalise on fake news which undoubtedly degrades and discriminates against our national treasure Sasha-Lee.
The article is pure body shaming, implying that if Sasha-Lee is not pregnant then she is fat. We would have thought that the managing editors, news editor and journalist, who are all female, would never have supported such an offensive article which judges people based on their external appearance. Let us put it on the record that Sasha-Lee Olivier is a real person and is deeply hurt by what appeared.
As part of the 2019 campaign, Sasha Lee stood as an advocate for fuller figure women and expanded on the organisation’s prior representations of beauty. We as an organisation stand strong with Sasha Lee with this understanding of beauty and do not take lightly to any form of body shaming and discrimination which is intended to disempower and humiliate her.
The Miss South Africa Organisation will be taking legal advice and action. We replied timeously to City Press who still went ahead and published a piece with comment from someone who has nothing to do with the current Miss South Africa Organisation.
It’s a shallow article that reads like malicious fake news.
2019 was a massively successful year for Miss South Africa under its new management. It was praised for presenting the most diverse line-up of contestants in the history of the pageant.
Miss South Africa will continue to recognise the innate potential in all young South African women and will provide both the tools and the platform to augment and shape this inbuilt talent into a leader who embraces her self-worth while inspiring others and creating a real social impact.
Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “We were blessed in 2019 to find Zozibini Tunzi and Sasha-Lee Olivier who have been embraced by South Africans as real and inspirational women – women who have praised and accepted worldwide for their unconventional beauty. One of the major changes under new management of the Organisation was to create a voice for women who have been scrutinised for the public’s perceived opinion of beauty. We wanted to provide a platform for all South African women, of all shapes and sizes, to take up space and lead our country. For this reason, we strongly feel that we need to take a stand against an article like this. The media plays a crucial role in influencing the lives of young women.”