In less than 24 hours, over 10,000 sign petition calling for ex-Miss Universe Malaysia’s crown to be revoked

Tan Mei Zi
Calls for James to give up her crown began after she made a series of tone-deaf remarks about African American people. — Picture from Facebook/ SamanthaKayty

PETALING JAYA, June 2 — More than 10,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Miss Universe Malaysia 2017 winner Samantha Katie James give up her title after she made a series of inflammatory remarks on the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

The Change.org petition titled “Strip Samantha Katie James of her Miss Universe Malaysia Crown and Title” was started by Marcus Gan and Yee Heng Zeh yesterday evening, who said that James was unfit to represent Malaysia on the global stage.

“She is a public figure with over 160,000 followers on Instagram.

“She misused her platform and social media presence to voice out her blatantly racist and ignorant remarks.

“Her ignorance and lack of self and privilege awareness do not reflect the Miss Universe Malaysia title and with this petition, we hope she will be stripped of her title,” said Gan and Yee.

The petition garnered more than 10,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. — Screengrab from Change.org

Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (Mumo) issued a statement last night to distance themselves from James while clarifying that she has not represented the organisation since June 2018.

However, many people including Gan and Yee felt that Mumo’s response was “unsatisfactory” and said further action needs to be taken against James if the organisation was truly anti-racist.

“If they strongly condemned all acts of racism and prejudice, they would've stripped her of her crown and title.

“Stripping James' crown and title would serve as an example that your organisation will not tolerate any forms of prejudice be it past, present or future winners,” Yee wrote in an update on the petition page.

James, 25, came under heavy criticism after posting to her Instagram Stories about the George Floyd protests in the US, telling African Americans to “relax, take it as a challenge” and claimed that they “chose to be born as coloured (people) in America for a reason, to learn a certain lesson.”

The Malaysian Chinese-Brazilian model also defended herself against criticism that pointed out her social privilege by saying that she had experienced discrimination as a “white girl in a local Malaysian school.”

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