BANGKOK – The United States nominee in the Miss Universe competition apologized on Friday for her comments on bad English speaking skills of two other participants at the beauty pageant that is in its final phase in Thailand.
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers had appeared in an Instagram video along with Miss Colombia Valeria Morales and Miss Australia Francesca Hung, apparently mocking at Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie and Miss Cambodia Rern Sinat.
“(Miss Vietnam) pretends to know so much English and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation and she goes (smiles and nods),” Summers said about the Vietnamese contestant, adding “she’s adorable.”
“Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language. Can you imagine,” said the American participant.
“Poor Cambodia,” she added.
The video led to a flood of criticism online with many users calling Summer’s comments xenophobic, mocking or racist, and forced her to release an apology.
“@MissUniverse is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences and views. We all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realize can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologize,” she said in the post, which included a photo of her and the other four participants in question hugging each other.
“My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman. I would never intend to hurt another. I am grateful for opportunities to speak with Nat, Miss Cambodia, and H’Hen, Miss Vietnam, directly about this experience,” she added.
H’Hen used her own Instagram account to play down the controversy, sharing the same photo.
“We all did the great job on the stage tonight! Sleep well and tomorrow will be brighter, my girls. Hugs and kisses. We are a family,” she wrote.
The Miss Universe 2018 will be crowned on Monday in the grand finale of the pageant in Bangkok.