Contestants say Miss USA was rigged. Now there is a probe

In early October, Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel made historical past as the primary Filipina American to win the Miss USA pageant. Now the Miss Universe Group has suspended Miss USA President Crystle Stewart and her firm whereas an unbiased investigation seems into allegations that the competition was rigged.

“After thorough deliberation, Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand[s] immediately,” the group stated Thursday in an announcement to The Occasions. “Miss Universe Organization will be taking over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive, third-party investigation is conducted.”

Legislation agency Holland & Knight is main the probe, which MUO stated could be adopted by “appropriate action.” Stewart is cooperating with the probe, the group stated.

“Miss Brands is being investigated for claims that the pageant outcome was fixed and/or that the organization of the contest was favored for a particular contestant to win,” MUO stated.

MUO owns the Miss USA mental property and licenses it all over the world, together with to Stewart’s Miss Manufacturers in order that the 2022 Miss USA pageant may very well be performed. That license is now suspended.

MUO stated it will finalize a plan for Miss USA after the investigation is full.

The drama started Oct. 4, the night time Gabriel was topped, when plenty of her fellow contestants abruptly walked off the stage as Gabriel accepted her roses and donned her tiara and sash. Quickly after, spearheaded by Miss Montana Heather Lee O’Keefe on TikTok, allegations that the competition had been rigged went viral on social media.

O’Keefe’s movies have gotten a whole lot of hundreds of views since then, together with greater than 670,000 views on an Oct. 5 TikTok detailing what she and and different contestants consider signifies {that a} repair was in.

Miss New York Heather Nunez, one other 2022 Miss USA contestant, reportedly stated on her private account’s Instagram Tales, “The way I entered this pageant and gave it every last bit of my heart and soul … We were humiliated, thinking we entered something with a fair chance.”

Nunez added that she was stepping up and talking out solely to forestall future contestants from feeling the best way she felt.

The Miss Universe Group was simply bought by Endeavor’s IMG for $20 million to a Thai firm, based on a Wednesday press launch. Previous to IMG’s buy in 2015, the group was co-owned by Donald Trump for 19 years.

Anne Jakkaphong Jarajutatip, a Thai businesswoman, transgender activist and actuality TV star in her residence nation, is chief govt of JKN World Group, MUO’s new proprietor.