Miss USA has apologized for insensitivity after traveling to Thailand for the Miss Universe pageant and expressing amusement at the fact that other contestants didn't speak English perfectly. The Diet Prada Instagram account shared a video of Sarah Rose Summers discussing Miss Cambodia with two other contestants, saying: "Could you imagine? Miss Cambodia is here and doesn't speak any English, and not a single other person speaks her language." The 24-year-old also mocked Miss Vietnam, saying: "She's so cute and she pretends to know so much English" and mimicking her nodding in agreement after a conversation in English, the Huffington Post reports.
The video caused a backlash online, with critics describing Summers' "patronizing condescension" as racism, Quartz reports. "If she’s trying to show empathy, the condescending, intolerant tone tells a different story," Diet Prada wrote. Summers apologized in an Instagram post of her own. "In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realize can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologize," she wrote. She described the pageant as "an opportunity for women from around the world to learn about each other’s cultures, life experiences, and views" and said she had spoken directly to Miss Cambodia and Miss Vietnam. (There was a jarring moment when the former Miss Nebraska was crowned Miss USA in May.)