When Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel won the big prize of Miss Universe over Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel this weekend, it sent some fans into a social media frenzy, throwing around accusations of the pageant being rigged by the woman who runs it.
Why are they saying this?
Anne Jakrajutatip, the chief of JKN Global Group, runs BOTH the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant (as well as Miss Teen USA), which critics say say is a clear conflict of interest.
In addition, Gabriel was also the subject of controversy when she was crowned Miss USA. Fellow contestants in that pageant say Gabriel's win there was 'clearly the result of favoritism,' and there have been suspensions in the top ranks at Miss USA because of it. Specifically, contestants pointed to a beauty treatment company that features the winner in an ad after the pageant. They say Gabriel was featured in their ad LESS THAN 24 HOURS after her win, and they want to know how that happened so quickly.
Miss Venezula, Amanda Dudamel, was a clear favorite to win Miss Universe going into this weekend's competition, her outfits and answers to questions impressed, while Gabriel's were not as well received.
So, it remains to be seen if there was actually any funny business going on in the contest, but for now our new Miss Universe is basking in the glory of being the first Filipino American to win AND the first Miss USA to win Miss Universe since 2012.