MANILA, Philippines – Miss Earth Philippines 2016 Imelda Schweighart drew flak from social media users her comments regarding President Rodrigo Duterte and dictator Adolf Hitler.
In a Facebook live video, Imelda asked the Miss Earth Austria delegate Kimberly Budinsky if Hitler was from Austria.
"Okay, that's a bad question because we normally don't talk about Hitler, but yes he is," replied Kimberly.
"Our president is doing Hitler stuff in the Philippines," said Imelda.
"That's crazy," replied Kimberly, before pausing. "Well, that's how it is."
The German dictator and leader of the Nazi party was born in Austria in 1889 and moved to Munich in 1913.
A few weeks ago, Duterte drew parallells between Hitler's massacre of the Jews to his controversial war on drugs: "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there [are] 3 million drug addicts….I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have, you know, my victims. I would like to be – all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition."
Duterte has since apologized, saying: "I would like to make it [clear] now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans. They do not really want you to tinker with the memory [of Holocaust victims]. Alam natin 'yan (I know that), so I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community."
Kimberly was in the Philippines with Imelda and the other Miss Earth 2016 candidates for the international pageant, which will be held on October 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The video has since been deleted from Imelda's Facebook page, but a clip of the incident was posted on the Pageant Central Facebook page.
Following the incident, Imelda took to Facebook to apologize for what she said, saying that she supports Duterte. She added that she felt comfortable speaking about Hitler to Kimberly because she herself is half-Austrian.
"Because all my life I was always teased by fellow Filipinos as 'Hitler' because they are not well-informed that Hitler was not German. In fact, Hitler was Austrian. So when I saw my fellow delegate, I made a soft joke about it out of my excitement," said Imelda.
"I am an extremist so forgive me my fellow Filipinos and Duterte supporters if you didn't understand how I am. I got that idea wherein i said, 'Duterte is doing Hitler stuff' from online news, newspapers with headlines saying he is Hitler-like but for the good. I was just not able to explain what i really meant further in Facebook live because my mind was occupied with the other delegates i want to capture on my Facebook Live cover," she added.
Read her full statement below:
Imelda, Kimberly react
At the press presentation of Miss Earth on Tuesday, October 11, Imelda spoke further about it.
"It hurt my feelings, but then I realized it's what [Miss] Austria thinks [that matters] the most, it's not what other people think. Because they're not here where we are at. You know, they don't understand how we connect, me and [Miss] Austria. So that joke was so fast – it's not even a joke, I mean – it was so fast, it's supposed to be extended because it's too hard to explain in just a few seconds. It was a few seconds and people bashed me because of that," said Imelda.
Kimberly joined Imelda during the interview at the press persentation. She said that for her, the video was no big deal.
"I didn't know why it was a big deal. As I said, it's something we don't really want to talk about because it is something in Austria that is very, you know, they're holding a big thing. It's not like that in every part of the world. I mean, just because Austria is like that. It's fine, it's good. We have a great relationship, you know, really, that's why I didn't understand," said Kimberly.
She declined to talk further about President Duterte: "I'm not a politician so I don't wanna talk about presidents. I'm here to change the world with environment, not politically, so I think politics are not something we talk about, so I think it's not a big issue."
After both of them spoke about the video, Imelda apologized to the president's angry fans, saying: "I support Duterte in all of his endeavors. And I hope you find forgiveness in your hearts because I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it in a bad way. Sorry. I just see headlines and I just said it. I didn't mean it to be like this. I'm sorry." – Rappler.com