The Miss Universe Organization has suspended Miss USA President Crystal Stewart and her company, Miss Brand Corporation, pending an independent investigation into alleged rigging of the 2022 Miss USA pageant.
“After extensive deliberation, the Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand with immediate effect,” the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement to CNN. “The Miss Universe Organization will take over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive third-party investigation is conducted.”
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, Stewart said he is cooperating with the investigation but denied the contest was rigged.
“The current allegations that the 2022 Miss USA pageant was in favor of one contestant are misleading and untrue,” Stewart said in a statement. “The last thing I would ever want to do is deny or deny competitors equal opportunity for a fair competition. I would never compromise my dream of leading an organization that empowers these young women.’
Following the October 3 pageant, Miss USA 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel took to social media to question whether there was any favoritism that led to Miss USA 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel’s victory.
Miss Montana USA Heather Lee O’Keefe has been one of the most vocal Miss USA contestants, saying in a TikTok video that the “drama” all started when a major sponsor of the pageant posted a video of Gabriel at a luxury spa owned by Gabriel’s sponsor hours later. he won
In an interview with E! News, Gabriel said that the spa was a sponsor of Miss Texas USA and after she was crowned Miss Texas, she paid her own way to visit the spa and recorded a video.
O’Keefe said there is also a photo of the pageant owner doing Gabriel’s hair, citing it as an example of Gabriel’s alleged favoritism. Gabriel said this photo was taken after she won Miss USA, not before the pageant.
Gabriel told E!: “I want to start by saying that there was no cheating because I would never win a contest or enter a contest. I have great integrity.”
“We really can’t blame this girl and it’s really sad because her performance was amazing and she probably could have won,” O’Keefe said in a TikTok video. “The problem is not about winning Miss Texas or R’Bonney. The problem is the alleged corruption of the Miss USA organization.’
CNN has reached out to O’Keefe for comment, but has not heard back.
When asked if he had spoken to Miss Montana USA, Gabriel told E!: “I haven’t had a chance to speak to her. And I think I’m open to talking to him about it. I would very much like to communicate with him, because I believe that many allegations are being made that are not true.”
“I’m going to talk to anybody because I want to be transparent and let everybody know that there was no unfair advantage and nothing was traded and as a titleholder and as Miss USA I don’t want girls to think that way. priesthood work. this is to celebrate women. we work very hard , and I have respect for all the women who appeared on that stage,” added Gabriel.