A 20-year-old beauty pageant winner has been stripped of her crown as “Miss Michigan” allegedly over “insensitive” tweets and her refusal to wear a hijab at a college event in 2018. Miss World America (MWA), a preliminary competition for the “Miss World” pageant, has taken the title from Kathy Zhu, a Trump supporter, legal immigrant, and University of Michigan student.
Zhu (shown) claims that she is being discriminated against because she is a conservative. “Miss World America’s State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive. They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and ‘insensitive statistical tweets.’”
Zhu posted an e-mail exchange between the Michigan Pageant Director Laurie DeJack and herself on Thursday evening. In the exchange, DeJack accused Zhu of violating a competition requirement of “being of good character and whose background is not likely to bring into disrepute Miss World America or any person associated with the organization.”
Later in the e-mail, DeJack told Zhu, “Therefore, and effective immediately, MWA does not recognize you as a participant of any sort or in any capacity as it relates to any and all events of MWA.” The email went on to demand that Zhu purge her social media accounts of any photos or mentions of her connection with MWA.
While the -email does not mention any specific instances of Zhu not “being of good character,” Zhu also posted a text exchange between herself and DeJack where DeJack darkly intones, “Do not go out representing Michigan World America. We do have a problem.”
During the text exchange, DeJack singled out one specific tweet of Zhu’s, which read, “Did you know that the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community before blaming others.”
Was this an insensitive remark? Possibly. Was it inaccurate? Absolutely not. The truth, being what it is, can sometimes be insensitive.
“This applies for every community,” Zhu told the Detroit Free Press, “If there is a problem, fix things in your own community before lashing out at others and trying to find an issue there. That is all I wanted to say.”
The hijab incident occurred in February of 2018 when, as a freshman at the University of Central Florida, Zhu tweeted, “There’s a ‘try on a hijab’ booth at my college campus. So, you’re telling me now that it’s just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?”
While it’s true that many Muslim women wear the hijab voluntarily as a symbol of their faith, there are also many Muslim countries — notably Iran — that mandate wearing it, and punish those who refuse.
“I said it was (getting women used to) being oppressed because there are so many women in Middle East countries that are being punished and stoned for refusing to wear a hijab,” Zhu said. “Nobody is talking about that in the West because all they see is everyone being at peace, but that is the beauty of America.”
Zhu was named a finalist for Miss World America earlier this week. On Wednesday, as if foreshadowing the coming incident, Zhu tweeted, “My message while as Miss Michigan is to advocate for speaking your truth. Especially in today’s political climate, we’re quick to attack each other based on perceptions and stereotypes. It’s time we take a step back and realize that our diversity of thought is what makes America strong.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the Miss World America organization has not publicly commented on the controversy.
Zhu, who goes by the Twitter handle @Political Kathy and is the vice-president of the College Republicans at the University of Michigan, will be fine following this dust-up. The publicity she is getting from this incident of leftist outrage will serve her far better than any beauty pageant crown would ever do.
Still, it’s sad that it’s come to this. In America in 2019, simply airing your opinion can cause you real harm.
Photo of Kathy Zhu: Facebook