*Days after 19-year-old model Romanie Schotte was crowned Miss Belgium over the weekend, the teen has become public enemy No. 1 after appearing to cosign a racist comment on Instagram, reports Buzzfeed.
Schotte took the above selfie on a public bus and posted it to IG. A black male passenger is seen behind her in the shot, which prompted a follower to comment: “That n**ga.”
Schotte responded, “I know,” along with a poop emoji.
That brief exchange went viral across social media, with both Schotte and the commenter, “@benoitvanden3ssche,” being accused of racism.
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
Schotte has since removed the pic and the ability to comment from her Instagram, but the s**tstorm had already begun, literally. Comment sections of her other social media accounts and the Miss Belgium Facebook page were flooded with the poop emoji that Schotte used in her original response.
Also, poop emoji memes of Schotte began to surface.
— Jean-Robert Ndudi (@jrndudi) January 17, 2017
Commenting MissBelgium IG pictures like …. pic.twitter.com/AfTqNaumKi
— un gars bien (@imnoizyy) January 16, 2017
On Monday, Schotte released a statement through Miss Belgium’s organizers addressing the backlash: “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.”
She later told the Belgian press that she saw the emoji as a smiley face or a “chocolate ice cream,” and that the controversy was the result of the French-speaking Belgian media “trying to sabotage” her.
A petition has been launched in a effort to snatch her Miss Belgium crown.