Miss South Africa is defending herself from accusations of racism after wearing gloves while recently interacting with black children, according to The Associated Press.
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, on Monday said she wore gloves during a visit to the Ikageng community center in Johannesburg last week due to hygiene concerns.
“We thought it was the right thing to do, seeing as were working with food,” she said of her July 5 stop at Ikageng’s soup kitchen for a charity event.
AP reported that Ikageng aids orphans and other vulnerable children, including some who are HIV positive.
Twitter users on Monday debated Nel-Peters’ actions, with some arguing the beauty pageant winner acted appropriately.
This outrage and SJW culture needs to stop. Miss South Africa wearing gloves to handle food given to children has been called racist.— TheRawGeek (@TheRawGeek) July 10, 2017
I also feel Miss South Africa wearing gloves while visiting black orphans wasn't racist, may be to avoid any 'infection', but it was wrong— Paul Tiondi (@tiondip) July 10, 2017
Other people on the social media platform criticized Nel-Peters, who is mixed-raced, for her behavior.
Miss South Africa is dizguzting for wearing those gloves ay!— Ugghhh it's Darren (@samoosasnchill) July 10, 2017
Ugh sorry 1 sec...
*rolls car forward when homeless child approaches*
AP reported that other volunteers wore disposable gloves during last week’s event at Ikageng, which is located in Johannesburg’s Soweto section.
The Miss South Africa Organization said in a statement that Nel-Peters did not wear plastic gloves throughout her visit.
Race remains a sensitive issue in South Africa, which until 1994 was governed by its white minority under apartheid.
Nel-Peters also gained attention in South Africa last month after she reportedly fled her vehicle when three armed thieves harassed her in Johannesburg.
South Africa’s police minister reportedly vowed to intensify the nation’s fight against crimes targeting women after the incident.