Days before the Miss Universe 2018 competition crowns its winner, Miss USA Sarah Summers was under controversy for remarks she made about her fellow competitors, Miss Vietnam and Miss Cambodia. In an Instagram live video taken by Miss Colombia, Valeria Morales, Summers is seen talking with Miss Colombia and Australia, Francesca Hung, about the women’s limited knowledge of English.
In the video, Summers, Morales, and Hung are answering questions from fans via the Instagram live feature. When one fan asks “What do you think of Miss Vietnam Nie?” she says “She’s 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” before imitating H’Hen Nie nodding and smiling. She then laughed and called her “adorable.”
Later in the video, Summers goes on to talk about Miss Cambodia, Rern Sinat, saying “Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language. Can you imagine? Francesca said that would be so isolating and I said yes and just confusing all the time.” She then turns to Morales, who is from a Spanish-speaking country, saying “You at least have other – I mean, you do speak great English – but you have other Spanish speakers.”
While Instagram live videos are only temporarily viewable on the app, many, including YouTube channel “May D,” shared the clips online because of these controversial remarks.
After the video circulated, many were critical of Summers comments, especially since the competition is international. A record 94 women from all over the world are competing for the Miss Universe 2018 crown, and the competition is being hosted in Thailand. E! News reported that one person wrote “You are in a competition called Miss Universe and not in an English class my dear! I think this is not a good example of being a queen.” With the final round of competition only days away, another remarked “”Well, I seriously don’t want to see the next miss universe saying stuff like this.”
Following this controversy, Summers released a statement on Instagram apologizing for her words and how they were interpreted. Along with a photo of Summers, Morales, Hung, Nie and Sinat hugging and smiling, she wrote: “@MissUniverse is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences, and views. 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. 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.”
Sinat shared the photo to her own Instagram, along with one of her kissing Summers on the cheek; with it, she wrote “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.” Nie shared both photos, too, captioning them “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 ❤️ #MissUniverse #Sisterhood.”