Gabriela calls on probe into Miss Earth sexual harassment allegations

Manila, Philippines – Women’s group Gabriela called for a probe about the sexual harassment allegations of Miss Earth international candidates against a male sponsor of the international beauty pageant.

This move from Gabriela came after Miss Earth contenders Jaime VandenBerg of Canada, Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown of England and Emma Sheedy of Guam, in separate Instagram posts – claimed that one of the male sponsors asked for sexual favors in exchange of winning the competition.

“I enjoyed 50 percent of my trip but the other 50 percent was overshadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved and sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favors in exchange for the crown,” Gyles-Brown said.

Vandenberg, who immediately withdrew from the competition, was the first one to speak up about her experience. The sponsor allegedly gotten hold of her contact number without her consent, asked for her hotel and room number.

Miss Canada and England did not mention the name, but Miss Guam said the sponsor was Amado S. Cruz.

“While these cases prove our assertion that beauty contests are indeed commodifying women, it is incumbent upon the contest organizers to at least protect the contestants from such blatant acts of violence against women and ensure their welfare,” Gabriela said Friday.

The group also urged other candidates not only from Miss Earth but also other beauty pageants to speak up against the same incidents and file necessary actions.

“The climate of impunity against misogynist acts like these, boosted by a misogynist leader, is a grave cause of concern that must be immediately addressed,” Gabriela said.

Miss Earth Vice President Lorraine Shuck, on the other hand, said that she collected testimonies on the incidents for review but denied the accusations and claimed that the candidates were given security.

Source: Philstar

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