Just a few days after the coronation night, Miss Canada along with the other candidates of Miss Earth 2018, spoke up about the sexual harassment they experienced during their stay in the Philippines for the international pageant.
In her Instagram post, Miss Canada Jaime VandenBerg, narrated her reason for leaving the pageant. According to Jaime, she did not feel comfortable under the care of the organizers of Miss Earth 2018. One instance she reiterated in the post is about her and other candidates’ encounter with pageant sponsors in Manila.
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I left to compete at an international pageant in the Philippines about a month ago. I was so excited because I had been to the Philippines before and loved the country and the people; however, the experience with the pageant was not what I had expected. I left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care. The second day of the pageant I felt uncomfortable because a sponsor from the first night was given my phone number, without my consent, and was calling me asking for my hotel and room number. I gave my phone to a team manager so that she could resolve the issue, but it did not work. He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favours in exchange to get me further in the pageant. I was disgusted. He showed up to a hotel some girls were staying at and when I ran into him he continued to ask for my room number. I was lucky I wasn’t staying at that hotel. After so many strange calls, I recognized his phone number and was able to block it. 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. Again, I was disgusted. Later in the pageant we had another sponsor event at the Manila Yacht Club and he was telling girls he could take them to Boracay, as long as we didn’t tell any one. A group of us left to sit out side as we did not feel comfortable. He followed us outside and was upset we were not dancing with him. The team mangers laughed and told us to be nice. Eventually we were allowed to go and sit on the bus because we refused to go back to his yacht. Six girls and myself left because we felt unsafe at that event. I asked many times why more girls weren’t given the option to leave but, was never given an answer. That night a few of us were given the opportunity to bring our concerns to Miss Lorraine, the woman in charge of the pageant. I went through almost two weeks of sexual harassment before I anything was done about it. I was told he would not be around any more, but I had advised Lorraine of several other issues that were not resolved. Miss Peachy, another employee of the pageant, spoke with me at an event about…
“The second day of the pageant I felt uncomfortable because a sponsor from the first night was given my phone number, without my consent, and was calling me asking for my hotel and room number,” Miss Canada wrote. “He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favours in exchange to get me further in the pageant.”
On the latter part of her post, she also told the story of another sponsor from Manila Yacht Club. She said that the sponsor invited some candidates to Boracay, which the ladies did not take well, so they walked out of the venue. This time, the team managers of the pageant merely laughed at the candidates and told them to “be nice” to these sponsors.
Jaime’s testimony sparked up other candidates’ statements that went through the same experience.
Today, other candidates from Miss Earth backed up Jaime’s story by sharing on Instagram their own experiences of exploitation and sexual harassment during the pageant.
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My personal encounter @missearth. • It’s time to speak up about my personal experience. I have been in close contact with my national director and all incidents have been noted. I have worked very hard for my title of Miss Earth England and as I have previously mentioned I took 4 years to get to the top and win my place at the Internationals. I was elated to finally represent England over in the beautiful Philippines. My trip was a rollercoaster of emotions, stress and endurance and I did not leave the pageant as I was not going to miss out on the experience. I have many beautiful memories of my time here in the Philippines and many wonderful days. I met happy Filipinos who showed me such kindness and respect. I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was over shadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved & sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favours in exchange for the Crown. 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. Myself and Canada approached Team Managers to express our disgust only to be laughed at. Another official attendee of the night told me not to cry as I would ruin my makeup! There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jaimie. I felt traumatised by this experience and had many sleepless nights. I was not sure who had my personal details including my mob number and hotel room. It was not only myself and Canada who were approached on this night but other delegates who I believe are going to come forward and tell their side of the story. I approached Lorraine Schuck who is the Vice President Of Miss Earth she informed me that the sponsor would be removed from all contact with contestants but this did not happen. As other groups experienced the same issue. Myself and @missjaimeyvonne removed ourselves from this uncomfortable environment and sat on the bus away from further exploitation. This is one of many incidents we faced during our Miss Earth Journey! The said sponsor in fact show up at a prelim event and also attended the Coronation night
Miss England, Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, said in her post, “There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jamie. I felt traumatized by this experience and had many sleepless nights.” She wrote, “I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was overshadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved & sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favours in exchange for the Crown. This happened at Manila Yacht Club on a sponsored evening meal away from the team managers behind closed doors.”
Meanwhile, Miss Guam Emma Mae Sheedy revealed the name of the sponsor who harassed them in another Instagram post. “The sponsor whose name is Amado S. Cruz became a problem for many of the delegates, including myself,” said Emma. According to her, Cruz kept on inviting her to Boracay, private islands, and to his house. She also revealed that the Vice President of Miss Earth, Lorraine Schuck, guaranteed that Cruz will not be seen anywhere after their complaint. However, the said sponsor still showed up at the prelim event and coronation night.
Surprisingly, Miss Cuba Monica Aguilar countered the statements of her co-candidates. She said in her IG post that the invitation to Boracay is not a form of sexual harassment. “All you can do is say no thank you and move on with your life!” she added. She even commended the works of the organizers and team managers, including the Vice President of Miss Earth.
How do you feel about the candidates’ experience in the Philippines during Miss Earth 2018? Share this post and tell us your take on this issue!