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Mixed-Race Beauty Pageant Winner Victoria Forest Takes Legal Action Against Online Abuse in Poland

user2024-06-30 02:14
Mixed-Race

Mixed-Race Beauty Pageant Winner in Poland Takes Legal Action Against Online Abuse

In an unprecedented move, Victoria Forest, a mixed-race beauty pageant winner from Rzeszów, Poland, has taken steps to fight back against a wave of racially charged online abuse. The abuse followed her recent win at the local beauty contest and included derogatory remarks from a prominent far-right commentator, Tomasz Sommer.

Controversial Victory

Victoria Forest, who was born in London to a Polish mother and a British father, has lived in Rzeszów for the majority of her life. Last month, her crowning as Miss Rzeszów was celebrated locally but gained national attention only after Sommer’s offensive comments.

Sommer, a former politician and current editor, ridiculed Forest’s victory on X (formerly known as Twitter). His tweet questioned her appearance and implied that her win was a result of political correctness rather than merit. The tweet has since been deleted.


A Wave of Online Criticisms

Besides Sommer, Najwyższy Czas, the newspaper where he serves as editor-in-chief, questioned the jury’s decision, suggesting that Forest’s selection was a push towards multiculturalism. This ignited a flurry of hateful comments on social media, many of which focused on Forest’s mixed heritage.

Victoria’s Response

In response to the abuse, Forest posted a heartfelt video on TikTok, where she revealed the extent of the hate she had received. “I am Polish, associated with Rzeszów all my life,” she shared. “I love Rzeszów, I felt safe here. I’ve encountered hate before, but never on this scale.”

Forest also turned to social media to seek legal help. Her appeal resonated widely, resulting in a response from the organizer of Poland’s main national beauty contest, Polska Miss, which offered her legal support.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C69MCt9oLKI

Legal Action and Support

The district prosecutor’s office in Rzeszów has confirmed receiving a notification of a suspected hate crime from Forest’s lawyer. The reported offenses pertain to the public insult based on national or ethnic identity. If proved in court, such actions could result in a prison sentence of up to three years.

The notification names no specific individuals but addresses “several dozen comments on the internet.” The prosecutors will now evaluate these comments to determine whether to press charges against any of the individuals responsible.

In the face of adversity, Forest’s determination to seek justice has also resonated with a broader community. A group of young black Polish women has created an educational platform called “Black is Polish” to foster discussions and awareness about racial issues in Poland.

Conclusion

As Victoria Forest prepares to compete at the national level in the Poland Miss contest this September, she has shown resilience and courage in standing up against hate. Her actions have not only drawn attention to her plight but have also highlighted the ongoing issues of racism and hate speech in Polish society.

The support from the broader community and organizations like Polska Miss and “Black is Polish” signifies an important step towards combating racism and promoting inclusivity in Poland. This is not just a fight for Victoria, but for everyone who believes in a more inclusive and respectful society.

Image credit: Victoria Forest/Facebook