Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers, has issued an apology after video footage of her making light of her fellow Miss Universe contestants’ grasp of the English language went viral, sparking accusations of racism and bullying.
Diet Prada, a fashion industry watchdog Instagram account, called Summers “condescending” and “intolerant” when it shared the footage, which showed the Nebraska native speaking about Miss Vietnam, H’Hen Niê, and Miss Cambodia, Rern Sinat. The women are in Thailand competing in the Miss Universe pageant.
“She’s [Miss Vietnam] so cute and she pretends to know so much English and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation with her and she goes …” Summers said in one video, making a confused look and smiling.
Another video showed her expressing regret that “poor [Miss] Cambodia” can’t speak English.
After commenters blasted her remarks as “shameful,” Summers took to Instagram to make amends.
“Miss Universe is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences and views,” she wrote. “We all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another.
“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 continued. “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. These are the moments that matter most to me.”
Her message was accompanied by a photo showing her and two contestants also featured in the videos — Miss Colombia, Valeria Morales, and Miss Australia, Francesca Hung — embracing.
Judging by Sinat’s Instagram post, the apology appears to have been accepted. Sinat added a shot of all five women, writing, “I speak the language of love, respect and understanding.
I love you my sisters.”
H’Hen Niê also shared the photos.
Although some praised Summers for learning from her mistakes, others have continued to berate her. Many commenters have also called Miss Cambodia and Miss Vietnam “classy” and “forgiving” for accepting Summers’s apology.
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