Three beauty queens were allegedly harassed during Miss Earth 2018
It happened this year, when the pageant was held in the PHBy Jacqueline Arias
First off, let me just say that no woman asks to be sexually harassed. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing normal clothes or a gown, this act is not the fault of the victim/s.
That said, three beauty queens who were competing in the Miss Earth 2018 in the Philippines last August have come forward with stories that they were allegedly harassed by a sponsor. Miss Canada Jaime Yvonne Vandenberg first posted on Instagram about how an unnamed man from the Manila Yacht Club got her number without her consent and asked her for sexual favors to get ahead of the competition, plus tried to get her hotel number. She also claimed that she and six other girls felt uncomfortable when he took them to a yacht party.
After posting her story, Miss Guam Emma Mae Sheedy and Miss England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown shared similar experiences from the same man. All three of them said that Lorraine Schuck, VP of Miss Earth, promised that he wouldn’t be allowed around contestants and won’t be present in their events anymore. But, as Abbey-Anna recounted, he was still there during the prelims and coronation night.
Meanwhile, Miss Philippines Celeste Cortesi shared a series of screenshots from a Miss Earth team manager who wanted to explain their side. Long story short: She only defended claims that they laughed at the women’s situation, and how they are always picking up after them. She briefly acknowledged the alleged sexual harassment, but then accused the women for telling them “when it was already too late.” She also emphasized that they’re watching over 30 women, so they should at least be grateful for their service in the situation.
One word: Yikes.
The Miss Earth organization has yet to issue a statement on the matter. As of writing, their Instagram account was switched to private.
Many have sent messages to the beauty queens, thanking them for speaking out on the issue. We also hope that something changes within the pageant community to create a safe space for all where they can properly address and resolve issues of sexual harassment. And definitely not make the women feel like they’re hassling someone (ie. team managers) by coming forward.
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