Feeling the backlash. Sarah Rose Summers, a.k.a. Miss USA, is backtracking on comments she made about non-English speaking Miss Universe contestants.
“@MissUniverse is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences, and views,” she captioned a photo of herself hugging Rern Sinat (Miss Cambodia) on Instagram on Thursday, December 13. “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. My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman. I would never intend to hurt another.”
Summers, 24, came under fire after a live video was posted to Instagram earlier that same day, which showed the Nebraska native discussing the linguistic skills of Miss Universe contestants Sinat, 23, and H’Hen Niê (Miss Vietnam) with Valeria Morales (Miss Colombia) and Francesca Hung (Miss Australia).
“[Miss Vietnam is] 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 the clip. She then imitated Niê by nodding her head with wide eyes and laughing. “She’s so adorable.”
Of Sinat, Summers quipped, “Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English, and not a single other person speaks her language. Can you imagine? Like, Francesca said that that would be so isolating, and I said, ‘Yes, I mean, and just confusing all the time.’”
The beauty queen also said in her apology that she had spoken to both of the women. “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.”
Niê, 26, appeared to accept Summers’ apology, posting the same photo on her Instagram page Thursday. “We all did the great job on the stage tonight! Sleep well and tomorrow will be brighter, my girls. Hugs and kisses. We are a family,” she wrote.
Sinat addressed the issue on Instagram Thursday, sharing the same hugging pic and writing, “My friendship and sisterhood in Miss Universe will forever be kept in my heart. Our experience have given us the opportunity to show and learn different cultures. I speak the language of love, respect and understanding. I love you my sisters.”
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