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3 Miss Earth contestants bare sexual harassment in pageant

3 Miss Earth contestants bare sexual harassment in pageant

November 08, 2018

(From left) Miss Earth Candidates Emma Sheedy (Guam), Jaime VandenBerg (Canada) and Abbey-Anne Gyles (England). PHOTO FROM MISS EARTH WEBSITE

THREE contestants from this year’s Miss Earth pageant have accused a sponsor of allegedly sexually harassing them at the Manila Yacht Club during the competition.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Miss Earth-Guam Emma Sheedy named the sponsor as Amado S. Cruz, who allegedly grabbed her “bare backside.”

“Amado S. Cruz grabbed my bare backside at the National Costume Competition where I was able to push him away, but he consistently told me not to tell anyone about any of the instances,” she wrote.

“At the Manila Yacht Club, he ensured that the team managers and security personnel were separated in another room, this is where he made many girls uncomfortable. A group of us left the room because we felt uncomfortable, but he followed us and insisted that we stayed inside to dance with him.”

Miss Earth-Canada Jaime VandenBerg first came out with a statement on Instagram on Wednesday, addressing the harassment. While she shared the same sentiment as Sheedy, she did not name Cruz, who allegedly got her phone number without her consent.

“He [Cruz] showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favors in exchange to get me further in the pageant,” she wrote. “At an event at the Manila Yacht Club he took all of the delegates in my group to his yacht and had some girls take sultry photos.”

VandenBerg also added that in another event, Cruz told the competitors that he would take them to Boracay, as long as they did not tell anybody.

She later continued by saying that a certain “Miss Peachy” told her how important it was to be friendly to the sponsors.

“She advised me that I shouldn’t put myself in a position where I feel uncomfortable,” the Canadian contestant wrote. “While blaming the victim is never okay, it made me realize that in part, she was right. I shouldn’t be in the kind of scenarios I was put in.”

VandenBerg also said that she had lost faith in the organization, after what was done to her.

“The organization took away my passport on the first day and I felt like I couldn’t leave,” she added. “When the team managers went into my room and took things from my luggage without my permission, I had completely lost faith in the organization.”

In her post, VandenBerg’s uncle died during the pageant and her grandmother was hospitalized. She later thanked friends who fought to get her passport back and leave the pageant altogether.

Miss Earth-England Abbey-Anne Gyles, who also did not name Cruz, had the same experience.

“I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was over shadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved, and sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favors in exchange for the Crown,” she wrote on her Instagram on Wednesday night. “This happened at Manila Yacht Club on a sponsored evening meal away from the team managers behind closed doors. The sponsor also tried to find out what hotel and room I was staying in. I felt traumatized by this experience and had many sleepless nights. I was not sure who had my personal details including my mobile number and hotel room.”

She and VandenBerg had approached the managers and organizers of the event regarding the harassment who laughed the incident off. They later approached Lorraine Schuck, vice president of the pageant and told them that Cruz would be removed from the pageant. However, Gyles said that Cruz was at the coronation night.

For Sheedy, Cruz was a problem at the pageant, because of his sexual behavior.

“Amado S. Cruz was at every event and dinner he could physically get to,” Sheedy later wrote on Instagram. “Since other delegates have posted, multiple other queens from past years have come out about the same behavior. I want to help put a stop to this sponsor being a part of the Miss Earth International Pageant because he has become a problem for years.”

In an interview with news program 24 Oras on Wednesday, Schuck later dismissed the Canadian contestant’s claims, because she did not even bring the issues up, even when every contestant had team managers that they could choose.

“She never told us. She came here on the sixth [of October], we found out about it on the 14th. She never told anyone,” she said.

Schuck later said that VandenBerg got her passport back when she asked for it and expressed her disdain at the managers, saying that if they called her to report on the incident, they would all be pulled out.

The Miss Earth pageant was held in the Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, with Vietnam’s Nguyễn Phương Khánh as the winner, beating 86 other contestants. Miss Philippines-Earth Celeste Cortesti, finished among the top 8.


Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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