(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – An online smear campaign against a contestant of the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago competition has been denounced by its organisers and has drawn the ire of social media users.
In what the organisers, Miss World TT, called a case of ‘cyber bullying”, on the Twitter account of representative for Marabella, Manisha Moonilal, were racist comments regarding the ongoing protests in the United Stated over the death of a black American man, George Floyd.
A statement issued by Miss World TT on social media said the comments were “horrendous and appalling”, and that their investigations revealed that the posts were screenshots that were modified using graphics and imaging software and falsely attributed to Moonilal.
The screenshots were posted on Moonilal’s Twitter account on Friday, two days ahead of “The Reveal”, when when the final contestants of competition were announced.
Moonilal has since been named in the final 15 contestants.
Contacted by phone for comment on Monday, Moonilal told Express that she was “doing okay”.
Moonilal said she would refrain from any comments regarding the issue.
“It is something that the organisation would address”, Moonilal told Express.
The statement from the organisers on Saturday read:
“It has come to the attention of the Miss World TT ORG of alleged comments made by one of our Miss World TT candidates.
The comments are horrendous and appalling and we take these matters very seriously. If any candidate behaves in a manner not in keeping with a miss World TT candidate, their contract would be immediately terminated. After investigating the matter, we wish to inform the public that these comments were NOT made by our candidate.
The photos of the screenshots which have been circulating appear to have been photoshopped to make it seem as if these comments were made by the candidate.
This is a form of cyber bullying against her. The Miss World TT Org does not condone bullying in any form or fashion against any of our candidates.”
Online readers threw their support behind Moonilal, and responded to her detractors.
“Educate yourselves before you try to attack her. Cyber bullying is not acceptable so if you can’t educate yourself about the situation then don’t bother commenting or saying anything negative”, posted one user on Facebook.
“That was a fake profile trying to sabotage her. Please be careful of any accusations, not everything on the internet is true”, wrote another user.
“It doesn’t phase me that people STILL take everything they see/hear at face value WITHOUT doing their research. Trinidadians have this monkey see monkey do mentality & we need to change that”, said another on Facebook.
Another social media user called for a police investigation into the matter.
“I do hope they went to the police unit for cyber bullying and fake pages and launch an investigation , find the person who did it and charge them”, the person wrote.