FALSE: Paula Shugart says Mexico undeserving of Miss Universe 2020 crown

At a glance
  • Claim: Miss Universe Organization (MOU) president Paula Shugart says Miss Mexico is undeserving to be 69th Miss Universe. 
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There are no official reports, interviews, statements, or recordings to prove that Shugart said this. She has expressed support for Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza.
  • Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the post has a combined engagement of more than 20,000 likes, 2,300 comments, and more than 34,000 shares on Facebook. Similar posts have circulated on Twitter and YouTube.
Complete details

A Facebook post dated May 17 claims that Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization (MOU), said the following statement: “Mexico she doesn’t deserve as a winner, I’m saying that’s how I feel… This contest is a cooking show… Latinas judges are talking to each other to win the latin country.. if you notice who else has the best answer she is still the loser…”

It also claims that Shugart questioned why only one Asian country made it to the Top 5 and said counties including Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India should be part of the list. 

“Why didn't [the] Philippines make it into the top 10? Because she exceeded the criteria, Rabiya Mateo’s achievements such as Communication skill, swimsuit attire, long gown (1st gown), and the costume. That’s the reason why the Philippines was not included in the top 21. If you don’t know the Philippines is one of the strongest when it comes to pageants. No worries, because it doesn’t mean that she didn’t get the philippines in the top 10, she’s not good anymore, she didn’t get it because the latinas are afraid that the philippines will win again. And besides, after the pageant I saw the judges card (list of winners) with no scores and only the name of the country order,” the quote read.  

In the quote card, a photo of Shugart is used, with a misspelled “MISS UNIVERS” icon on the graphic.

The post has more than 20,000 likes, 2,300 comments, and more than 34,000 shares on Facebook, as of writing. Similar posts have circulated on Twitter and YouTube. This claim was spotted using the social media monitoring tool Claim Check. Some netizens believed the claim and went as far as writing rude comments. 

This claim is false. 

Shugart did not say the quote in the graphic. There are no official reports, interviews, statements, recordings, or posts to prove that Shugart said this. 

The closest thing that Shugart said about the Miss Universe results can be found in a statement posted on the MOU’s press site on May 17, which expressed her support for Andrea Meza’s victory. 

“It is certainly emotional to see the crown begin a new journey tonight with Andrea…. After a year unlike any other, I am so grateful for the extra months we got to spend with Zozi, and I know Andrea will reign with strength, ambition, and grace,” Shugart said. 

Meza was crowned 69th Miss Universe. The other finalists included India, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Peru. 

MOU also posted an update on its Facebook biography, congratulating Meza on the day of the final competition: “Congratulations to the newly crowned Miss Universe, Andrea Meza from Mexico!” 

The Philippines’ bet, 24-year-old Rabiya Mateo, concluded her Miss Universe 2020 journey as a semifinalist, contrary to the claim in the quote that she didn’t make it to top 21. (READ: FALSE: Liza Soberano to represent Philippines in 70th Miss Universe) – Jene-Anne Pangue/ Rappler.com

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