Steve Harvey: I Needed 24-Hour Armed Security After Miss Universe Mistake

Before there was Warren Beatty…! Steve Harvey opened up about the backlash he faced after his 2015 Miss Universe gaffe, where he mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, when Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, was the actual winner.

The Family Feud host, 60, revealed details of the scary threats he received in the April issue of Cigar Aficionado. “I live on a dead-end street — and it got real when things started coming over the gate. Empty boxes with bows and pictures of bombs,” he recalled. “And these with death threats on social media that would pop up from fake IP addresses. I wound up with 24-hour armed security at my house. I have two armed guards there full-time to this day.”

Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey on Dec. 20, 2015, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Even though more than a year has passed since the December 2015 incident, the comedian said that he won’t be vacationing in Colombia anytime soon. “In the Philippines, they love me — but I can’t go to Colombia,” he said. “The next morning, there was this massive crowd, all around my car outside the hotel—all these Colombians giving me hell. My Twitter and Instagram blew up and I got called every name in the book. I got cussed out in Spanish so bad that I know profanity in Spanish now.”

Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, Paulina Vega, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach and Steve Harvey
Miss Colombia 2015, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, looks on as Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega removes her crown to give it to Miss Phillipines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, after it was announced that host Steve Harvey mistakenly named Gutierrez Arevalo the winner instead of Wurtzbach during the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Dec. 20, 2015, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Harvey also defended his January meeting with President Donald Trump. The talk show host dropped into Trump Tower to discuss programs and efforts to help inner cities. “I’m glad I did [meet with Trump],” he said. “You have to take a seat at the table when you’re invited. If you’re not at the table, you can’t refuse the menu, or suggest what you should be eating. I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area.”

In the wide-ranging interview, the radio personality touched on his “heartbreaking” decision to quit doing stand-up after 27 years. “I cried so hard afterward,” he said. “I was on my knees. It was crazy to walk away from something that meant so much to me. Fortunately, I get to be funny on every show I do. But nothing can ever come close to what it feels like when you’re on stage and it’s 12,000 people and it’s you and a spotlight, a bar stool, a glass of water and a microphone. There’s nothing like that. It’s the basis of everything I am.” 

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