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Racism

Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers is caught on video mocking Asian rivals’ English at Miss Universe show

  • Sarah Rose Summers is seen on Instagram sneering at Miss Cambodia Nat Rern and Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie for what she viewed as their sub-standard language skills
  • After a backlash, Summers apologised and said ‘we all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another’
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2018, 7:06am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2018, 10:36pm

The current holder of the Miss USA 2018 title has apologised after she was captured on video mocking two Asian rivals in the Miss Universe contest for their English-speaking skills.

In a video posted to Instagram, Sarah Rose Summers made light of Nat Rern, Miss Cambodia and H’Hen Nie, Miss Vietnam. In the video, she said of Nie: “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 …” she said before mimicking a confused nod and smile.

Then Summers makes fun of another contestant for not speaking English.

“Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language. Can you imagine?” she said. “Francesca said that would be so isolating and I said yes and just confusing all the time.”

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Colombia’s Valeria Morales and Australia’s Francesca Hung also appear in the videos laughing along with Summers, at the pageant which is being held in Bangkok. The finale will take place on Monday, local time, but portions of the contest are already underway.

Among the many people on social media to register offence at the comments was the popular Instagram account Diet Prada whose repost of the video, taken from Morales’s account, has since gone viral.

“This is basically what normalised xenophobia looks like,” they wrote. “If she’s trying to show empathy, the condescending, intolerant tone tells a different story. A reminder that you’re participating in a competition in a country/continent where English is NOT the primary language.”

After suffering a fierce backlash, Summers offered an apology on Friday.

The Miss Universe competition “is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences, and views,” she wrote. “We all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another.”

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“In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realise can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologise.

“My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman. I would never intend to hurt another.”