Miss Michigan Kathy Zhu has been stripped of her title after several ‘racist’ and ‘insensitive’ tweets surfaced.
The 20-year-old shared a picture of an email she received on Friday (July 19) from the pageant removing her from her position.
Zhu, the vice president of UM College Republicans, said organisers took her tweets about hijabs and African-American murder rates out of context and did not give her chance to explain her reasoning behind them.
Miss World America's State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive.
They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and "insensitive" statistical tweets. pic.twitter.com/K1Btho0Pgq
— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) July 19, 2019
In the email from state director Laurie DeJack, the 20-year-old former Miss Michigan was told she could no longer participate in pageants or have her name associated with the title in any way.
The email began:
It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America (MWA) that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content, and in violation of MWA’s Rules and Conditions, specifically the contestant requirement of ‘being of good character and whose background is not likely to bring into disrepute Miss World America or any person associated with the organization’.
Zhu was announced as Miss Michigan World America 2019 by the beauty pageant earlier this week, but her title was revoked just one day later. Organisers appear to have deleted the original announcement from a regional Facebook page, instead reposting a list of other winners.
The ‘insensitive’ tweets referenced by the email were targeted at Muslim women and gun violence in the black community.
There is a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus. So you’re telling me that it’s now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?
While the second one reportedly read: ‘Did you know that the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others.’ The tweets were sent in 2017 and 2018, but have since been deleted.
In response to the email stripping her of her title, Zhu referred to the organisers as ‘gullible’ before defending her claims and saying her hard work shouldn’t be taken away because of ‘one person’s complaint’.
She went on to say:
I suggest you all fully review what you stand for and what you condemn. Statistics and facts are not always pleasant. It’s disgusting how you would rather lie to the public’s face than be supportive of someone that is trying to make a difference by talking about subjects that no one dares to say.
Zhu, an avid Donald Trump supporter on social media, will no longer go on to represent Michigan in the Miss World America pageant in Las Vegas.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).