America’s Miss Universe contestant has been accused of ‘normalized xenophobia’ and compared to Mean Girls villain Regina George after appearing to mock a fellow contestant’s lack of English.
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers appears in an Instagram Live session made by Miss Colombia Valeria Morales asking her and Miss Australia, Francesca Hung what they thought of Miss Vietnam.
During the video from the event where 94 nationalities are represented, the three women talk about H’Hen Nie and say she ‘pretends to know so much English’ before Miss USA appears to mock her smile.
An Instagram live session started by Miss Colombia Valeria Morales (left) showed Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers (centre) chatting with Miss Australia, Francesca Hung (right)
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers (centre) is the most vocal and has been accused of ‘normalized xenophobia’
Miss USA said of Miss Vietnam: ‘She’s so cute and she pretends to know so much English, and you ask her a question and 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,’ added the 24-year-old from Nebraska, Omaha.
The comments come despite the ongoing pageant being held in Thailand, Southeast Asia, where English is not a common language and generally seen as a privilege gained through going to expensive schools.
Miss USA then says: ‘Poor Cambodia’ after Miss Australia mentions how hard it must be for the non-English speaking contestants who were relying on Google translate and professional translators at the event.
H’Hen Nie of Vietnam poses on stage during the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Chonburi province
Miss Australia Francesca Hung and Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers appeared in Miss Colombia’s Instagram live video where they say they took a sympathetic view on some contestant’s lack of English being an ‘isolating’ factor during the multicultural tournament
‘Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English, and not a single person here speaks her language,’ said the US contestant, pictured with the blonde hair on the right
Miss USA turned to Miss Colombia and said, ‘You at least speak pretty good English,’ before Miss Australia piped in, ‘and you have your Spanish.’
Miss Colombia then mentioned how fellow Latino Miss Brazil also couldn’t speak English, but Miss USA mentioned how ‘there are other women who speak Portuguese.’
An anonymous source inside the pageant told The Post: ‘Actually, Miss Cambodia and Miss Australia are friends’ before adding that Miss Cambodia was hurt by the incident.
Popular Instagram account Diet Prada, which has recently called out several controversies in the fashion world including the Dolce and Gabbana alleged racism storm – reacted to the incident and shared a message to her 986,000 followers likening Miss USA to Mean Girls character, Regina George.
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers pictured during the competition’s preliminary rounds with Miss Cambodia, Rern Sinat, who Summers has been accused of ‘bullying’
Miss Australia, Francesca Hung (left) – who is half Chinese – was also caught up in the storm. Pictured here with three other contestants including Miss USA and Miss Indonesia
The Diet Prada post read: ‘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.’
Miss Australia Francesca Hung pictured alongside Miss Cambodia – who is reportedly her friend – and an another model. Miss Hung, who is half Chinese, has spoken out on Instagram
The page also compared the tournament to a ‘gossip ring of toxic mean girl behaviour’. The post has been liked over 22,000 times and the US and Australian models have blocked the account.
Reacting on Facebook, Cambodian-American woman Sorany Var said: ‘If I have EVER come across the entitlement and superiority of white Americans, this is it right here.
‘In the greater context of things, I don’t think Miss USA realized she was being bigoted and condescending, but that’s what entitlement does – it only allows you to see from YOUR narrow perspective.’
Twitter users 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 representing their countries,’ wrote Damien DL Johnson on Twitter.
Miss Vietnam Hen Nie arrives for a press conference at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand as Valeria Morales, representing Colombia, speaks to the media
Another Twitter user posted: ‘To Miss USA pointing out Miss Vietnam and Miss Cambodia’s inability to speak ‘great English’, Shut you’re a– up! You are a lame image of bigotry. Your narrow-mindedness is messing up the entire Miss Universe pageant.’
The event has been heralded as historic as it is the first installment, of 67, to include a transgender model as well as also featuring indigenous contestants.
Miss Australia, Francesca Hung – who is half Chinese – posted a photograph on Instagram of herself with the Cambodian contestant, claiming the whole situation has been ‘misconstrued’.
Some Twitter users dubbed the remarks’racist’ and bigoted’ and called for the women to be axed from representing their countries at the competition that’s currently in the prelim stages
Her post read: ‘I’m so upset that this situation has been misconstrued like this … We were merely saying it must be even more difficult at times not to have a single other delegate being able to speak [Khmer] … which in fact, makes Nat [Miss Cambodia] an even stronger contender [to win the title].’
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.
He said: ‘Regarding the incident, we have spoken the girls involved and MUO management. The bullying accusations are unfounded and almost 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.’
He assured the Australian website that there are no hard feelings between the women. The grand final is set for December 17.
The Miss Universe Organization has been contacted for comment.
Twitter users have also reacted in fury, comparing the women to ‘mean girls’ and dubbing them ‘trash’