Sarah Rose Summers, Miss USA 2018, apologized via her Instagram account on Thursday after a video went viral of her making controversial comments about Nat Rern, Miss Cambodia and H’Hen Nie, Miss Vietnam for not speaking English during the Miss Universe competition.
Summers was called out online for mocking the two other contestants on Instagram Live; of Miss Vietnam, she commented: “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…” before going on to mime nodding and smiling. Of Rern, she said, “Poor Cambodia” while talking about her not speaking English.
The backlash was swift, and included the popular Instagram account Diet Prada.
In her caption, Summers said that she had spoken about the issue with both Rern and Nie and apologized for her comments.
“@MissUniverse is an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences, and views. We all come from different backgrounds and can grow alongside one another,” Summers wrote. “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. My life, friendships, and career revolve around me being a compassionate and empathetic woman. I would never intend to hurt another. I am grateful for opportunities to speak with Nat, Miss Cambodia, and H’Hen, Miss Vietnam, directly about this experience. These are the moments that matter most to me.”
The Miss Universe pageant airs on Dec. 16 from Thailand.