What was supposed to be an innocuous selfie by a group of Miss Universe beauty pageant contestants has resulted in a major controversy in the Middle East. According to CNN, the cause of the controversy was an image posted onto the Instagram feed of Miss Israel, Doron Matalon. While it looks as normal as any other selfie could be, one of the girls seen in the image happens to be Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige.
After the image was seen by people from Lebanon, Saly Griege was ridiculed by her own citizens for posing with a contestant from an enemy country. Some others called for her to be stripped of her title of Miss Lebanon, reports the Telegraph. The fact that a Lebanese citizen had the audacity to grab a selfie with someone from a country they are at war with seems to have not gone well with several people in the Middle East. Lebanon is technically “at war” with Israel, although no major conflicts have happened since 2006.
The image was posted on to Instagram on January 11. It shows four contestants of the Miss Universe pageant casually sitting and smiling at the camera while they grab a selfie. The other people in the selfie were Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan.
After Miss Lebanon was slammed by commenters from the Arab world — she tried to distance herself from the controversy and attempted to put all the blame on Miss Israel by claiming that Miss Israel had, in fact, photo-bombed her. She claimed that initially it was her and the two other contestants who were trying to grab a picture when Miss Israel simply jumped in and took the controversial selfie.
“Good morning from us!” reads the caption of the selfie which was clearly, posted with no bad intentions.
After she was criticized by the Lebanese media for her actions, Saly Greige took to her Facebook account and posted a statement that according to her explained the “truth behind the photo.” In the post, she claimed that from the start of the pageant, she had tried to avoid contact with Miss Israel and was very careful not to appear in photographs with Matalon. The controversial selfie was all Miss Israel’s fault, she claimed.
“This is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest.”
Meanwhile, Miss Israel also took to Facebook and posted about the controversy. She took a screenshot of a news article that read “Miss Lebanon in Trouble” and wrote the following.
“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”
Later, Miss Lebanon posted the same picture on to her Instagram account where she deliberately cropped off Miss Israel from the image.
[Image via Instagram]