The newly crowned Miss Belgium has been caught up in a race row, after allegedly agreeing with the use of a racist term in reference to a black man in her photo.
Instagram users found a photo of Romanie Schotte, 19, where a commenter called a black man in the background a ‘n*****’ and she allegedly replied, ‘I know’ alongside a poo emoji, BuzzFeed reports.
It spread across social media like wildfire with both Schotte and her follower being severely criticised.
Her personal social media accounts were flooded with angry commenters, with many using the poo emoji just like she did.
This is the racist they crowned Miss Belgium 2017 & the faux saviour vipers she associates with. Belgium, longing for the days of Leopold. pic.twitter.com/JUTYYIn22c
— Marianne C T (@bronzebygold) January 16, 2017
Romanie has since removed the photo and the ability for anyone to comment on her Instagram account.
But it hasn’t stopped people using the emoji on Twitter and incorporating her into memes, mocking the new Miss Belgium.
Commenting MissBelgium IG pictures like …. pic.twitter.com/AfTqNaumKi
— un gars bien (@imnoizyy) January 16, 2017
— Jean-Robert Ndudi (@jrndudi) January 17, 2017
People are so furious that they’ve even started a petition to get the new beauty queen de-crowned.
In response, Schotte released a statement through Miss Belgium organisers, suggesting that because her dad’s business interests are in Africa she can’t be racist. Riiight.
I am open to all cultures and for all people. My dad spends most of his time working in Africa. How could I be racist? I’m very sorry if I have hurt some people by my reaction to somebody’s post. I wish to apologise to all those who feel attacked.
To clarify her reasoning, she later told Belgian press that she saw the emoji as a smiley face or a chocolate ice cream, adding that she believed the French-speaking Belgian media were just trying to sabotage her.
The Belgian government agency UNIA, has now opened a racism case in response to the incident, with a spokesperson saying they ‘lament this commonplace racism which remains a daily reality in Belgium’.