Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Miss USA apologizes after comments spark criticism of being racist and xenophobic

Image: Sarah Rose Summers
Sarah Rose Summers of the United States competes in the evening gown competition during the 2018 Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok on Dec.13, 2018. -
Lillian Suwanrumpha AFP - Getty Images
Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

Miss USA apologized Friday after making comments that people on social media called xenophobic and ignorant.

In live Instagram videos that were captured and posted by another Instagram user, Sarah Rose Summers, 24, is seen chatting with Miss Colombia, Valeria Morales, and Miss Australia, Francesca Hung, in Thailand, where the pageant is set to take place Monday.

"Miss Cambodia is here and doesn't speak any English and not a single other person speaks her language," Summers muses. "Can you imagine? Francesca said that would be so isolating and I said, 'yes and just confusing all the time,'" Summers continued before concluding: "Poor Cambodia."

Summers then starts talking about Miss Vietnam, H'Hen Nie. "She pretends to know so much English and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation and she goes ..." Summers said while nodding dramatically. "She's adorable," she added, laughing.

After facing criticism on Instagram, Summers, from Nebraska, took to the platform on Friday to say sorry.

"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," Summers wrote. "My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman."

The post was accompanied by a photo of her and fellow contestants hugging one another.

Miss Cambodia, Rern Sinat, posted the same photo saying "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."

Hung responded by posting a photo of her, Summers, Morales, Sinat and Nie. She captioned it with a heart emoji.