The South African fitness influencer who recently caused outrage by declaring Hitler “innocent” and saying that “Jews are greedy as f*ck” has has said she was merely being “an Afrikaans Christian”.
Fitness model Simone Abigail Kriel has been charged with posting antisemitic and inflammatory messages online in now-deleted posts after a report was filed by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).
Kriel, 28, who lives in Pretoria, is accused of writing: “The f*ckin Jews are greedy as f*ck and they will wage war against countries and races, based on lies and deception to get what they want.”
As well as another post reportedly reading: “It was the Jews that bombed, raped, sodomised and burned all people in Germany alive. Hitler innocent. Our history has been twisted to favor the Jews without question.”
And a third post is alleged to have read: “There is a special place in Hell for them and not even that is good enough for what they are doing to this world!”
According to reports, she lost her role as a brand ambassador for fitness group PSN Lifestyle in the wake of the allegations.
However, despite facing a criminal probe and possible jail time, the influencer has doubled down on her comments.
She told local media: “I don’t see myself as a Nazi. I see myself as an Afrikaans Christian and I am not worried about the police, I am taking a stand.”
Kriel, who believes the COVID-19 crisis is a conspiracy, said: “It made me start to think who was controlling the money in the world and how the entire globe could be brought to standstill by this pandemic.”
To back up her claims, she explained that she had watched around 20 hours of YouTube documentaries.
Social media law expert Emma Sadleir said: “Even if she did apologise, she is open to be charged for this case, be it for crimen injuria or hate speech.”
Ella Blumenthal, a 98-year-old holocaust survivor who lost 22 of 23 family members at the Treblinka extermination camp, wrote to Kriel to point out the damage such comments make.
She wrote in a letter: “This is because I was about your age in 1945 when I was liberated from that pit of hell they called Bergen-Belsen. I had lost everything that I had ever had. I had lost almost everyone that I had ever loved.
“I, like millions of others, had fallen victim to the vicious propaganda machine the Nazis relied on to advance their evil agenda. Today they call propaganda ‘fake news’ but it is the same thing. I think what you saw was a lie.
“I know this because I lived the truth and I have carried it with me, in my heart, for more than 7 decades. You see Simone, you can never forget what I saw, what I endured and what I survived.
“I am sad because like me, you too were a victim of lies that seek to breed hatred and disgust. Lies that seek to divide us and make us fearful of one another.
“And I am also angry. Not at you, but at those who still seek to make others the victims of their own fear.”
Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the matter is still under investigation.
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