30 August 2008

Miss World Scandals and Controversies

Miss World is not only the oldest pageant among the Big Four, along with Miss Universe, Miss Earth and Miss International, but also the most controversial. The pageant has gone so many trials but all were surpassed with the management of Eric Morley and later on his wife, Julia Morley.

Since Miss World is fast approaching, let's a take a time to brush up ourselves with some of the controversies and scandals of this pageant.

1. In 1960, Argentina's Norma Gladys Cappagli was threatened with disqualification from Miss World when it was reported that she frequently drank alcohol.

2.Britain's Lesley Langley, crowned Miss World 1965, hit the front page of many tabloids for having posed in the nude. She was not dethroned.

3.Scandal broke out again four years later when it was leaked that Sweden's Eva Von Ruber-Staier, Miss World 1969, also had shed her clothes in a photo shoot. She was allowed to keep her crown.

4.When comedian Bob Hope stepped onto the stage of Royal Albert Hall in London to host the Miss World Pageant in 1970, he was bombarded by protesters hurling smoke and flour bombs. Feminists declared the protest a triumph. It became one of a handful of demonstrations in the early seventies that many believed strengthened the feminist movement in Britain.

5. Four months after United States delegate Marjorie Wallace was crowned Miss World in 1973, she was dethroned for dating too many high-profile men. But the crown was not given to the Miss Philippines, Evangeline Pascual who was that year's first runner up.

6. In 1874, Helen Morgan, Miss United Kingdom, relinquished her crown just four days after it was revealed she was a single mother.

7.In 1984, radical animal rights activists campaigned against Miss Venezuela, Astrid Herrera, for her support of toros coleados ("pulling the bulls' tails"), a popular South American rodeo sport. Bolivia's representative also that year was highly criticised by Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for wearing of leopard fur. Miss Venezuela went on to win the crown.

8. In 2002, Human rights advocates called for an international boycott of the contest, protesting the treatment of women under sharia, the code of law based on the Koran recently enacted in 12 of Nigeria's northern states. Some Miss World contestants answered the call to protest. Several countries' delegates dropped out of the competition and rallied behind the campaign to save a Muslim Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery. Amid growing international attention to the case, the Nigerian government promised that Lawal's sentence would not be carried out.

9. Also in 2002 in Nigeria, after a young fashion writer in Nigeria wrote that Prophet Mohammed probably would have chosen one of the Miss World contestants as his wife, old tensions between Christians and Muslims exploded. Riots erupted in the northern city of Kaduna, where two years before, 2,000 people had died in religious clashes. The trouble spread to Nigeria's capital, Abuja. The death toll exceeded 200 people, with hundreds of others reported injured. Miss World was then transferred to London where Miss Turkey, Azra Akin, was crowned the winner. Amina Lawal was freed on September 2003.

10.The 1980 winner Gabriela Brum of Germany resigned one day after winning, initially claiming her boyfriend disapproved. A few days later it emerged that she had been forced to resign after it was discovered that she posed naked for a magazine.

11. In 1976, several countries went on a boycott, because the pageant included both a Caucasian and African representative for South Africa. In yet another shut-out for the nation for its apartheid policy, South Africa competed for the last time in 1977, before it was welcomed back in 1991 as that policy disintegrated.

12. Just days after her 1998 crowning, Israel's Linor Abargil revealed that she had been raped only two months before the pageant. One of the highlights of her year was seeing her accused rapist convicted.