Miss USA Contestants Call Foul, Claim ‘Favoritism’ Played a Factor In This Year’s Crowning

Every contestant wants to hear their name called as the new Miss USA, but some of the ladies in this year’s competition felt they had no chance at winning the title, claiming the competition was fixed.

Some contestants from this year’s Miss USA pageant, held earlier this month, claim the organization did not handle the competition fairly, giving preferential treatment to winner R’Bonney Gabriel. Representing Texas, she made history as the first Filipina American to win the title this month.

However, a series of videos on TikTok, posted by former pageant contestant Jasmine Bruce, who was first runner-up in the 2021 Miss Arkansas pageant, revealed some of the contestants appeared to exit the stage after the crowning took place, as opposed to following the traditional pageant decorum of congratulating the winner as she embraced her moment.


Part 2 !! #greenscreenvideo #missusa #pageant #fyp #OverwatchMe

♬ original sound – Jas


#missusa #missusa2022 #riggedreimagined

♬ original sound – Heather Lee

“I’ve never seen all 50 contestants walk off stage or react the way that the contestants reacted in the background,” Gabriel said in an interview with NBC News. “To me, that’s very telling. These girls aren’t just upset that they didn’t win. There’s more to the story.”

Contestants who spoke with the media included Ashley Ehrhart, Miss Oklahoma 2022 and Heather Lee O’Keefe, Miss Montana 2022. Both say there was “favoritism” in this year’s pageant.

“The official coaching school of Miss USA sponsored all of the contestants but gave an extremely more generous amount to Miss Texas USA,” O’Keefe told ABC News.

The pageant was led by The Miss Brand Corp., headed by former Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart, who took over the franchise in 2020. Gabriel and Miss USA officials deny the allegations of “favoritism.”

“As the first African American woman in this leadership role I take this position with all seriousness and regard, Stewart said.

“I would [not do] anything, such as ‘rig a competition’ that I fought so hard [to win], and jeopardize that hope. The fairness of the pageant and the well being of each and every contestant is my top priority. The allegations against the Miss USA Organization are misleading and against everything I stand for personally and professionally.”

According to a statement provided to NBC Newsthe organization has suspended Stewart’s leadership and a third-party investigation is being conducted.

Stewart said the investigation will provide clarity and assurance that a fair competition took place.