Sarah Rose Summers, better known as Miss USA, has become the target of significant internet backlash while competing at this year's Miss Universe pageant in Thailand.
In a video first posted by Valeria Morales (Miss Colombia) before being removed and re-posted by "fashion industry watchdog Instagram account Diet Prada," Summers can be seen alongside Miss Colombia and Miss Australia condescending to Miss Cambodia because she doesn't speak English.
In Thailand. Where the official language is... not English.
Oddly, Thailand's official language is Thai. Imagine that.
"Could you imagine? Miss Cambodia is here and doesn't speak any English, and not a single other person speaks her language… Poor Cambodia."
Diet Prada even went so far as to do a side-by-side comparison of Miss USA speaking directly to Cambodia vs. speaking of their competitor behind her back.
Up to a certain point, Summers seems to be empathizing with her fellow competitors, calling Miss Cambodia's situation "isolating," since she doesn't share a language with anyone else in the show.
But the judgmental tone with which she delivers her message undercuts any sense of sympathy.
I mean the current Miss USA does reflect the majority of Americans & the current American political atmosphere, cul… https://t.co/zBKNLncVHX— B (@B)1544678333.0
According to Quartzy, Summers went on to make similar comments about H'Hen Niê, Miss Vietnam:
"She's so cute and she pretends to know so much English. You ask her a question and after having a whole English conversation with her, she goes..."
Summers then "adopts a placid smile and starts nodding in an impression of Niê."
A bunch of high school bullies trolling a new student in class? This happened at Miss Universe pageant! Miss USA S… https://t.co/iijLwDhDAK— Soumyadipta (@Soumyadipta)1544849695.0
Twitter was furious at Miss USA for how she was representing her country.
I think Miss USA being a racist perfectly represents most Asian's image of an American. She's the perfect Miss USA.— wonho has nice tiddies (@wonho has nice tiddies)1544771634.0
@songforarmys What embarrassing thing to witness. Their TITLE MISS USA, MISS Australia and Miss Colombia should be… https://t.co/p72sxYMQId— Carmen 💜 #wasteonme #SSRBArmyClub (@Carmen 💜 #wasteonme #SSRBArmyClub)1544750495.0
@songforarmys @imthedboy Why do english speakers feel that everyone needs to know their language but make zero eff… https://t.co/Rfxlcc2RYM— Diana A.🇲🇽 (@Diana A.🇲🇽)1544751768.0
Xenophobia should not be what the United States, where Sarah Rose Summers ancestors came as immigrants, is about.
@songforarmys Miss Cambodia doesn’t speak English but she’s brave enough to join and represent her country even tho… https://t.co/nAqs87CoJC— ARMYYYYYYYYxBTS (@ARMYYYYYYYYxBTS)1544777192.0
@MissUniverse i wonder if you will still allow Miss USA, Columbia, and Australia to continue in the competition aft… https://t.co/1gh3cu9Qpb— Damien D.L. Johnson (@Damien D.L. Johnson)1544672299.0
In response to the online backlash, Summers apologized on Instagram, saying:
"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."
Twitter was not especially forgiving of Miss USA, however.
@NBCNightlyNews The majority of the world’s population doesn’t speak English. But it is not surprising that Miss US… https://t.co/ItwYrriYY8— Madame Common Sense (@Madame Common Sense)1544811437.0
@NBCNightlyNews She should be stripped of her title to be honest. Wow. 😒— McKayla (@McKayla)1544810697.0
Miss USA truly representing Trump’s America in the #MissUniverse2018 stage. The ignorance. She just sent herself ho… https://t.co/QAWArx2GI8— 𝕃 𝔼 𝕆 🍒 (@𝕃 𝔼 𝕆 🍒)1544716939.0
@Il_Malandrino @MissUniverse For someone who came from a nation whose national language is not English, it is sad a… https://t.co/iLaNCc7aQQ— MyLifeAsAFlowerVase (@MyLifeAsAFlowerVase)1544802610.0
Miss USA talking shit about Miss Cambodia and Miss Vietnam about not speaking english AS IF sis can have a conversa… https://t.co/AHg724J8xs— violet (@violet)1544680777.0
And how well is Miss USA's Vietnamese? https://t.co/5OpSazJ9o9— tori (@tori)1544785858.0
@qz She shouldnt be miss USA— Alicia vargas (@Alicia vargas)1544816646.0
We've come far enough as a world culture that xenophobia and condescension because of language barriers should be seen as what it is: unacceptable and ignorant.
Hey, Miss USA, how's your Thai?