The managers of the Miss USA beauty pageant have been suspended amid accusations that they rigged the result of the 2022 event.
The Miss Universe Organization announced this month that Miss Brand Corp, the organizers of the Miss USA pageant, were suspended from the program and had hired a law firm to investigate the accusations that the pageant was a fraud.
“After thorough deliberation, Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand immediately,” the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement reported by Fox News Digital.
“Miss Universe Organization will be taking over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive, third-party investigation is conducted. The investigation will be led by the law firm Holland & Knight, and the findings will be used as the basis for the appropriate action,” the pageant organization added.
“We are appreciative of the cooperation from Miss USA Director Crystle Stewart as we work through the process. Our commitment to contestants and fans is our priority, and we will keep them top of mind as we move forward.,” they said.
This year’s winner, Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel, was crowned on October 3 and became the first Filipino America to win the contest. But it wasn’t long before accusations that Miss Brand had pre-selected Gabriel for the win were raised.
Indeed, even as she was being crowned, several suspicious contestants reportedly stormed off the stage. As an example of some of the complaints, losing contestants complained that pageant president Crystle Stewart — a Miss USA winner from 2008 — was seen fixing Gabriel’s hair. Others say Stewart coached Gabriel during the contest.
Several contestants also claimed that Gabriel seemed to get preferential treatment from sponsors and may have won because of her connections to Houston, Texas, from which Stewart also hails.
Stewart denies any rigging.
“The current allegations that the 2022 Miss USA pageant was in favor of one contestant over another are misleading and simply not factual,” Stewart said in a statement. “I am fully cooperating with the open investigation being conducted by a third party at the request of the Miss Universe Organization. I am eager for all of the claims to be disproven, and the facts will speak for themselves, ultimately putting all contestants’ minds at ease once and for all that this was indeed a fair pageant.”
“As a former titleholder, I know firsthand how much hard work, mental preparation, and dedication goes into the process of being on the main stage. The last thing I would ever want to do is discredit or deny the contestants an equal opportunity to a fair competition. I would never jeopardize my dream of running an organization that empowers these young women.”
Thus far, no actions have been taken against this year’s winner. But nothing has been ruled out.