MISS Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo has apologized to Miss Universe Canada Nova Stevens and Miss Universe Thailand Amanda Obdam following some racist comments from Filipino fans.
During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, May 5, Mateo addressed the hate directed towards her fellow competitors.
“You know what, it makes me really sad. I saw the post of Nova earlier today and I really feel sorry for her because nobody deserves to be in that position,” she said.
Mateo shared that she empathized with Stevens since she experienced receiving hate in the past, as well.
“I’ve been bashed, you know. And there was a moment that a lot of people would tell me, ‘That’s normal, you’re a beauty queen.’ But I’ve seen how… it affected not just me but also other candidates. We have a WhatsApp group and we would talk about it,” she added.
Stevens on Tuesday, May 4, posted on Instagram several screenshots of negative comments she has been receiving, some of which were in Filipino.
“I’m really disappointed with some pageant fans from other countries. Your hate takes away the fun and enjoyment from this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Is it really that difficult to spread love instead of hate?” Stevens said in her post.
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“No one is saying you HAVE to support all contestants, all we are saying is that you support your delegates without bringing others down. You don’t need to dim someone’s light in order for you to shine,” she added.
Stevens also urged the netizens attacking her to “see the beauty in the world.”
“The world is evolving, people are realising that beauty is not exclusive to one specific group of people. The definition of beauty applies to all, because beauty can be seen in different shapes, shades, and sizes. Please see the beauty that is in this world. We don’t need to look the same, we just need to treat each other the same,” she said.
Mateo, for her part, said she personally apologized to her fellow Miss Universe candidates.
“I actually personally sent messages to Amanda, to Nova saying sorry. Because these hate speeches that we see online, this is not a reflection of who we are as Filipinos,” she said during the press conference.
“I can say that we do love pageants, and we support girls. And with Miss Universe, the goal is to celebrate the differences and to be with the girls and the cause that they stand for,” added Mateo.
The country’s candidate said that she has asked her supporters for help, telling them to report accounts that sent hate to others online.
“I would always… from time to time, I would ask a general meeting with my solid support group and I would tell them, ‘Once you see somebody getting bashed, you report that account, you correct them,’” Mateo said.
She also said that she is planning to make an anti-bullying campaign video in the wake of the recent event.
“I would always campaign, as a person, I do not tolerate bullying in all forms and in all ways. That’s why I’m actually planning to make a video, me and the organization is planning to make a video to make an appeal to the public to stop being rude because it costs nothing to be kind,” Mateo said.
“And it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t feel nice [to be bashed]. And I need to do something to stop it,” she added.