The U.S.’s Miss Universe contestant has been accused of “normalized xenophobia” after appearing to make fun of a fellow contestant’s English skills. She was even compared to Regina George from “Mean Girls” due to the mocking.
Three Miss Universe contestants were accused of making xenophobic and condescending comments about Miss Cambodia and Miss Vietnam at the competition.
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers appears in an Instagram Live session made by Miss Colombia Valeria Morales asking her and Miss Australia Francesca Hung about their thoughts on Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie.
During the video from the event, where 94 countries are represented, the three women talk about H’Hen Nie and say she “pretends to know so much English” before Miss USA appears to mimic her smile.
The incident was disclosed by an Instagram page called Diet Prada in a series of videos, which shows Miss USA talks about Miss Vietnam: “She’s so cute and she pretends to know so much English, and you ask her a question after having a whole English conversation with her, she goes–” and then proceeds to mimic what is apparently Miss Vietnam’s smile before laughing with the other two contestants.
They also chat about what they think of Miss Cambodia Rern Sinat.
“Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English, and not a single person here speaks her language. Francesca [Miss Australia] said that it would be very isolating,” 24-year-old Summers added. “Poor Cambodia.”
Miss USA then turned to Miss Colombia and said, “You at least speak pretty good English,” before Miss Australia added in, “and you have your Spanish.”
Miss Colombia mentioned how fellow Latino Miss Brazil also couldn’t speak English, but Miss USA mentioned how “there are other women who speak Portuguese.”
The videos were shared by Diet Prada with the caption, “Regina George, is that you? This is basically like the most dramatic reality show, but condensed into 1 minute lol. @sarahrosesummers hopefully will prove that ignorance will not win you a @missuniverse title…whatever that means these days.
“This is basically what normalized xenophobia looks like. If she’s trying to show empathy, the condescending, intolerant tone tells a different story. A reminder that you’re participating in a competition in a country/ continent where English is NOT the primary language.”
An anonymous source inside the pageant told the Daily Mail: “Actually, Miss Cambodia and Miss Australia are friends before adding that Miss Cambodia was hurt by the incident.”
Twitter users also weighed in on the debate with some even asking for the accused contestants to be removed from the competition.
@MissUniverse i wonder if you will still allow Miss USA, Columbia, and Australia to continue in the competition after their racist/ bigoted remarks toward fellow contestant Miss Cambodia. I can't believe these ladies will be repersenting their countries!
— Damien D.L. Johnson (@Il_Malandrino) December 13, 2018
Troy Barbagallo, Director of Pink Tank Events, which run the Miss Universe Australia Pageant told 9Honey that the situation has almost amounted to bullying against the accused.
“The comments were taken completely out of context with the girls merely chatting sympathetically re the difficulty facing Miss Cambodia as the only participant who has no one else in the competition who speaks her language.”
Barbagallo assured that there are no hard feelings between the women.
Who Is Sarah Rose Summers?
Sarah Rose Summers, 24, is an American model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss USA 2018. She is now representing the U.S. at Miss Universe 2018.
Summers was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She earned two degrees cum laude from Texas Christian University in child development and strategic communication, with a minor in business. Summers worked as a certified child life specialist prior to becoming Miss USA.
The 2018 Miss Universe is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand.