Miss Venezuela Organization to probe contestants amid social media feud

CARACAS (TPPNews) – The Miss Venezuela Organization said on Wednesday it will investigate their candidates’ ethics following a vitriolic social media feud among former participants accusing each other of inappropriate behavior.

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A group of ex-Miss Venezuela contestants, in a flurry of social media posts, accused other participants of prostitution, enriching themselves through romantic relationships with corrupt businessmen and officials.

In what’s been two weeks of social media mudslinging, participants in the Miss Venezuela pageant have been accused–or even accused each other–of receiving anything from cars to trips from government officials in exchange for sexual favors and of pocketing money meant for a charitable children’s foundation.

“Given the events recently described on social media … a decision has been made to begin an internal review to determine if anyone linked (to the pageant), during the course of their involvement, violated the values and ethics of the contest,” the Miss Venezuela Organization said in a statement.

The organization added that it was temporarily closing a Caracas training facility and halting casting for the pageant as well as the lower-profile Mister Venezuela event.

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“Venezuelans can be sure that the organization will not hesitate to take the necessary measures that make sure no acts against our rules, values and ethical and moral principles are taken,” Cisneros Media President Jonathan Blum said in an statement on the organization’s website.

It was not immediately evident how this would affect the Miss Venezuela pageant, which is typically held toward the end of the year. The rights to Miss Venezuela are owned by Grupo Cisneros, of the wealthy Venezuelan Cisneros family.

Grupo Cisneros referred questions to the Miss Venezuela Organization, which did not respond to a voice mail message seeking further comment.

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Miss Venezuela 2017 participants at a press conference in Caracas in 2016. Photographer: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

The allegations drew outrage in Venezuela, where triple-digit inflation and chronic food and medicine shortages have spurred a mass exodus of migrants.

They also drew ribbing from critics, who noted the beauty queens’ numerous spelling mistakes.

Venezuelans are among the world’s most successful beauty show contestants and have won global pageants including Miss Universe and Miss World more than a dozen times.

The country has also historically had one of the world’s highest rates of breast implants and cosmetic surgery.

However, netizens from other countries are quick to point out that this could be another media gimmick to raise interest for the Miss Venezuela Pageant and its winners. The winners of another pageant powerhouse – the Philippines, were just crowned and the whole world are talking about the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Queens. And what better way to get the spotlight away from the Asian Powerhouse? This “investigation” and announcement of temporary closure.

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The winners of the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Pageant – another powerhouse in pageantry. Photo by TPPNews Correspondent A.B. Paolo Lomeda

This is not the first time that the Venezuelan Pageant Organization had issues like this that made them the topic of netizens. Last year, reports of their Miss Universe 2017 candidate Keysi Sayago of not participating in the international pageant surfaced. Prior to this, the legendary Osmel Sousa has been reported also of retiring; and so many more other issues that keep the Miss Venezuela Organization and their winners on the awareness of the media. So is this another ploy to keep them in the news, making them still relevant? Well, all we can do is guess.

 

With reports culled from Bloomberg and Reuters by RH Parawan, Tristan Francisco, Patricia Laya, and additional reporting by Andreina Aponte

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