Former Miss Universe Malaysia 2017, Samantha Katie James, is facing backlash on social media and a petition to strip her of her crown and title after posting what were deemed insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.
On Monday, the 25-year-old former pageant winner posted a series of statements on her Instagram story including a comment directed at black people saying “you choose to be born as a ‘coloured’ person in America.”
To her over 160,000 followers on Instagram, she wrote, “it seems like the ‘whites’ have won.” She proceeded to call protesters “foolish humans.”
A petition was created Tuesday by Marcus Gan and Yee Heng Zeh in efforts to urge the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO) to strip James of her Miss Universe Malaysia crown and title. With well over 100,000 signatures, the goal of 150,000 signees is within reach.
On Twitter, users condemned her for her posts. One user wrote, “I am disgusted by @samanthakayty. your words are downright vile & ignorant.”
Another wrote, “Dethrone miss universe Malaysia she’s an embarrassment to carry that title.”
Soon after James’ comments on Monday, the MUMO posted a statement on their Instagram page distancing themselves from James. They announced the comments made from James are her personal views and not of the organization.
People took to the comments to hold the organization accountable. "She doesn't deserve the title I don't care how long ago it was she is embarrassing your organization and the entirety of Malaysia just by still having that title," one comment read.
The Malaysian makeup company Velvet Vanity issued a statement on Instagram stating that they will no longer be collaborating with James. “As a brand, since the beginning of our journey we are very dedicated to cater to everyone albeit their skin colours,” the brand stated. “For us to support her wrongdoings would be contradictory with our brand name.”
Since the backlash, James posted an apology on her Instagram page. “I do hear you, I'm sorry,” she wrote. “I know you’re hurting I know you’re hurting. I know it’s unfair. I’m not in your shoes to understand this fully.” She went on to explain why she made her prior posts and ended her apology by explaining her cultural background.
Not satisfied, many people commented about their disapproval.
One wrote, “The fact that you still claim you’re a woman of color and that compared your discrimination against the brutality that black people face on the daily appalling. This isn’t an apology, this is a sob story. Get over yourself.”