Beauty pageant contestants.
(photo credit: DORON MATALON INSTAGRAM)
Miss Lebanon Saly Greige will not lose her title or face punishment for appearing in a selfie with Miss Israel Doron Matalon, according to a report by Lebanese The Daily Star on Friday.
Greige came under fire in Lebanon after Israel's contestant at the competition in Miami posted a photo to her Instagram account, of herself, Miss Lebanon, Miss Japan and Miss Slovenia posing together.
The photo circulated on Lebanese social media, bringing a harsh backlash against Greige for posing with Israel's Matalon, the representative of an enemy state. Some called for her to lose her title over the photo.
On Friday, according the report, Lebanon's Tourism Minister Michel Pharon said, “According to the information we obtained, Miss Lebanon [Saly Greige] did not have bad intentions that necessitates her being stripped of her title or punishment.”
Pharon added that he believed “Miss Lebanon has been the subject of a racist and random campaign.”
Miss Lebanon claimed Miss Israel had photo-bombed her.
"The truth behind the photo: Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me)…I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media…this is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest," she wrote on Facebook.
Miss Israel also took to Facebook on Sunday to address the controversy, saying that while she wasn't surprised by the incident, it "still makes me sad.
"Too bad you cannot put the hostility out of the game," she lamented, even for the duration of the three-week competition, an event she called "an experience of a lifetime [where] we can meet girls from around the world and from neighboring countr[ies]."
The final round of the pageant will take place on Sunday, January 25.
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