The contestant representing the United States at the Miss Universe competition had to apologise following a barrage of criticism for her comments about non-English speaking contestants.
Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers went live on Instagram and referred patronisingly to Miss Cambodia, Rern Sinat and Miss Vietnam, H’Hen Nie. She was also joined by Miss Colombia Valeria Morales and Miss Australia Francesca Hung on the video (above).
While praising Nie, Summers said she pretends to understand English but actually doesn’t mimicking Miss Vietnam’s expression when asked a question in the language. About Sinat, Summers said she “doesn’t speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language.”
Miss USA received a swift backlash online, with some saying her comments were xenophobic and condescending. She responded to the criticism in an Instagram post on Friday and apologised. “In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realise can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologise,” she said.
Sinat told CNN that Summers “didn’t mean anything” by it, and that Summers had been supportive and helpful towards her.