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Jessica Leandra Dos Santos’s career as a model and sex kitten could be all but over. The Joburg-born model came under fire for posting a racist tweet on social networking site Twitter. It read: “Just, well took on an arrogant and disrespectful k***** inside Spar. Should have punched him, should have.”
After angry responses to her comment, Dos Santos deleted the offending tweet. But it was too late. She has already lost one of her major sponsors and men’s magazine FHM has distanced itself from the 20-year-old, saying she would be stripped of her title as FHM model of the year in 2011.
Reacting, Dos Santos posted another tweet: “Would you all stop! These are the kind of people that land up raping young girls in our country. I wasn’t going to let him get away with it.”
Quick Trim SA, one of Dos Santos’s long-standing sponsors, said: “Due to the severity of the remarks by Jessica Leandra, Quick Trim SA herewith ends our sponsorship to her with immediate effect!”
And yesterday, Brendan Cooper, editor of FHM, said that the men’s magazine had been left horrified by Dos Santos’s racist tweet and that she would be stripped of her title as FHM model of the year. “We are appalled … and would like to formally announce that she has been stripped of her title as winner of the FHM Modelbook 2011 competition with immediate effect.
“She was merely the winner of an online poll we ran. We totally distance ourselves from her blatantly racist comments.”
The model is also an ambassador for the Little Eden home, an organisation for mentally disabled children and adults. “Little Eden wants to make it clear that the society never appointed Jessica as an ambassador,“ a statement issued by Little Eden reads. “The Society does not condone racism in any form.”
And this is not the first time. Earlier this year she tweeted: “Highlight of my weekend? Almost punching an Engen petrol assistant. No tolerance for rude African monkeys whatsoever!”
By yesterday Twitter was abuzz over her remarks. Although her representatives have remained tight-lipped, Dos Santos took to her blog to post an apology. “I tweeted rather irresponsibly about an incident last night (Thursday), using a harsh word about the gentleman who confronted me with sexual remarks and sounds,” said Dos Santos. “Many of you don’t know the details of the incident. Please do understand that I was acting in pure anger.”
However, columnist Mabine Seabe wrote: “I have lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on the basis of crimen injuria and libel.”
Another twitter user wrote: “Jessica Leandra has apologised. Darling, even if your mangling of language was acceptable, your disgusting racism is not.”
DA national spokesman 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.”
Dos Santos’s tweets have also received international attention, with famous rapper Talib Kweli tweeting about her comments. Attempts to get comments from Dos Santos or her representatives proved unsuccessful. – Saturday Star, with additional reporting by Sapa