Miss Texas USA Denied The Rigged Pageant Claims & Her Fellow Contestants Aren't Buying It
"I know some of this to be straight up false," said Miss Alaska.
Miss Texas, R'Bonney Gabriel, took the crown of Miss USA 2022 last week on October 3. Since then, there have been various allegations from the competition's other contestants that the pageant was rigged.
The claims started when fans noticed many of the ladies filed off stage without congratulating Gabriel on her win, and the pageant queen posted to Instagram about a solo sponsored trip to the luxury Cancun resort Nizuc just hours after her crowning.
Not only has the Miss Universe organization started an investigation into what's being alleged, but Miss USA did an interview with E! News defending the pageant's integrity. Her fellow contestants, however, are still not buying it.
Gabriel claims she got along with all of the women and that there wasn't enough time for her contestants to come out and hug her during the show, but they did backstage.
She also said that they were rushed offstage because the production "didn't want the girls to go into that bubble and maybe fall."
Miss Montana, Heather Lee O'Keefe, who has been the most vocal on TikTok, posted Miss Alaska Courtney Schuman's reaction to the interview.
"After she was announced Miss USA we (being the other contestants) were not rushed anywhere because of production timing," Schuman published in her IG story. "No one was afraid we were going to fall off the runway or 'bubble' that we had all been walking on all week, I'm shocked that would even be a claim."
Miss Alaska also wrote that she was too busy congratulating other contenders to be hugging Miss Texas backstage.
In the E! interview, the Miss USA winner also addressed the controversy surrounding some sponsors who posted images and videos of her from before she had been crowned.
"There's been a lot of times when titleholders will work with sponsors for Miss USA before the competition and then that will be promoted after the competition if they win or not," she said.
She also noted that some companies that sponsor Miss USA are also Miss Texas sponsors, so she began working with them when she won her state crown. It was then, she added, that she was invited to go to Nizuc and be a brand ambassador.
Gabriel also added that she paid for her own flights to the resort.
Narcity reached out to Heather Lee O'Keefe and Courtney Schuman for comment about these claims, and we will update this article when we receive a response.
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