TikTok star Sophia Begg apologises for Steve Irwin stingray costume
The influencer, 19, has divided social media with the controversial outfit.
Influencer Sophia Begg has apologised after she copped backlash online for dressing up as the stingray that killed Steve Irwin for an Australian-themed costume party.
The 19-year-old TikTok star, who has over 1.2 million followers on the platform and more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, shared a since-deleted video on Wednesday of herself wearing a stingray onesie.
After one person replied to the TikTok saying, “Steve Irwin could never”, she confirmed that her costume was a reference to the Crocodile Hunter’s death.
“I’m going to an Aussie dress up party in a duo costume,” she responded. “They’re going as Steve Irwin and I’m going as a stingray.”
Steve Irwin died in 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a documentary in the Great Barrier Reef.
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Sophia then posted a short text video on Thursday saying she apologises for causing offence with her costume.
“Hi guys, I just wanted to jump on here to clear up some things,” she wrote. “I love Steve Irwin and would never want to cause disrespect to his family or legacy. He is an iconic Aussie and no offence was meant by my costume.
“I have thought about and reflected on my costume and I will not be wearing it, and apologise wholeheartedly to anyone who was offended by it. That was definitely not my intention. I apologise sincerely.”
Sophia left her followers divided when she first posted about the stingray costume, with one person arguing that “it's really not that deep”.
“I think it's funny and I loved Steve Irwin. Life's too short to take seriously,” another added, while a third said, “I feel like Steve would have laughed at this”.
However, a majority of people called her out for being “totally disrespectful” to the iconic Australian and his family.
“She could have gone as a crocodile. This is just in poor taste,” one user wrote. “There’s dark humour and then there’s mocking how an Aussie icon died, leaving his wife and kids behind”.
“I’d just ask myself one question. Would I wear this in front of Bindi and Robert? No. That’s a huge no,” another replied.
“I think it’s just in really bad taste,” someone else shared. “I think Steve Irwin would have been a bit before her time but for a lot of us ‘older’ Australians, he was an absolute icon and I think it would be upsetting for his wife and children.”
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