The Most Damaging Scandals & Controversies to Pageant Image Pt.2

This is the final part of this 2-part series. In this post we examine three of the biggest pageant scandals and controversies that hounded female pageants.

3. The Miss Earth Allegations of ‘Crown Buying’ – this was a fabricated story by some Russia-based media that spliced conversations with the ME Org head honcho Lorraine Shuck that was about a pageant sponsorship/ hosting proposal. The spliced audio/video made it look like the crown was available for ‘purchase’ when they were talking about fees and royalties in hosting/ sponsorship. Despite the allegations being proven false, the damage was done and it did make a dent in the pageant’s decade long reputation. This was all because of irresponsible media wanting to fabricate a story out of sensationalism. Nevertheless the Miss Earth pageant continues its advocacy and its working relationships with other international organizations like the United Nations regarding climate change awareness and ecology preservation.

2. The Pageant Fixing of Miss Asia Pacific World SuperTalent (not to be confused with Miss Asia Pacific Quest or Miss Asia Pacific International) – there is nothing more damaging to a pageant’s reputation than pageant fixing of the winner. But this has to be most scandalous one to ever grace the pageant scene as it opened a huge closet full of skeletons by the Korean-owned Miss Asia Pacific World Supertalent Organization. May Myat Noe’s win came with allegations of pageant fixing by the organizers and a pageant portal. It was said that it was Filipina Hillarie Parungao who was the alleged real winner of the pageant but was relegated to a runner up finish in favor of the Burmese beauty. Further phone conversation leaks was later revealed about the alleged pageant fixing that happened between the org and the pageant portal’s head correspondent.

The scandal did not end there as weeks later, the May Myat Noe ran off with the prized crown back to her country and was immediately dethroned. During the ensuing weeks mud-slinging came from both quarters as May Myat Noe accused the pageant of fixing her age on pageant forms to make her of legal age. It was later revealed that she was underage (she was still around 15 years old when she won). The pageant organizers on the other hand said that she was difficult to work with and refused to sign the contract with them and refused to fulfil her duties as winner. There was also allegations of forced breast augmentation that the 15 year old received but was said to have been requested by the winner. Add to it is the theft of the US$100,00-worth crown to which the Burmese beauty refused to return before an apology is made by the Korean-based pageant.

The controversy was so big that it dug up previous controversies that involved holding up candidates from leaving the competition (you can Google Amy Willerton and Miss Asia Pacific World Supertalent). Nowadays the pageant isn’t active anymore.

1. The Miss World Venue Deadly/Violent Protests – the embattled pageant has been through more controversies that we can count but one that tops it all off were the numerous venue protests, cancellations and moves. Every time that the pageant is held in Great Britain, women’s liberation groups would hound the pageant from the 60’s even into the turn of the century. But the biggest of them all was in 2002 when the pageant held its contest in Nigeria during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Despite the move of the pageant date to December, the protests continued. The arrival of women that were expected to compete in fast-tracks that included swimsuits were met with violent protests that saw at least 100 people killed. It got worse when continued clashes saw the burning of a newspaper office and violence continued to escalate. This prompted the cancellation of the event and was hastily moved to London. This scenario was repeated as well in 2013 where protests in Muslim-majority Jakarta forced the organizers to keep the Miss World pageant in the Hindu island of Bali where it proceeded without a glitch. Although no deaths occurred, threats that a disruption to the pageant’s finals continued as protesters would march to disrupt the event in Bali. Thankfully, security was tight at the finals venue and the pageant continued without any signs of violence. In 1996, when the contest was held in India, one man burned himself alive in protest of the pageant. This was following more than two months of protests that included protesters’ threats of setting themselves on fire during the pageant’s finals in Bangalore. No other beauty pageant has created such violent protest in this magnitude despite the Miss World’s Beauty with a Purpose ethos and its commitment to charity.

Scandals and controversies like these can damage the image of the pageant. Some could weather the storm while others would definitely not be able to outlive them. While others would continue with the stain attached to them… 


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