One week after Jeannie Mai has pledged to stay with the Miss USA Pageant, regardless of Donald Trumps criticisms of Mexican immigrants, Ms. Mai has changed her mind and stepped down as a co-host for the pageant.
Jeannie makes the third co-host to step down, following the controversy prompted by Donald Trump’s statements, with Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts having previously disassociated themselves from the Miss USA event. Even before Jeannie’s decision, two pageant judges -Emmitt Smith and Jonathan Scott- have also stepped down in the wake of the Trump controversy.
Mai has since clarified her position by explaining to her social media followers why, after promising to remain involved with the Miss USA Pageant for the support of the contestants, she has stepped down.
“At the time I made my decision to remain part of the Miss USA pageant, I was under the impression that Mr. Trump would no longer be involved in the production of the show in any capacity whatsoever,” Jeannie explained.
While I absolutely do not condone Mr. Trump's statements, after careful deliberation I have decided to continue my role as co-host of the upcoming Miss USA Pageant. For the past several years, I have been co-hosting both Miss USA and Miss Universe aligned to support President Paula Shugart. I can't abandon these women when they need our support now more than ever. The mission of the Miss Universe organization has always been to unite women from all over the world and celebrate different cultures. They empower women to become role models in their communities in order to build self-esteem and advance philanthropic initiatives. It is truly unfortunate that recent events have overshadowed the amazing work these women have been doing, but the goals of their organization have not changed. Through the years I've experienced a wide variety of inspiring stories. I've met women who used the pageant to help fund their education. I got to know winners like Miss Universe Leila Lopes who used the platform to bring so much positive attention to emerging countries like Angola. There are countless stories of real women working hard to impact social change. My entire career has been driven by my inspiration to celebrate women and their potential. I hope everyone can transcend this controversy so we don’t lose sight of that. As long as there is one woman standing there on that stage, I intend to be standing there beside her.
Jeannie contends that, while Mr. Trump’s original commentary might have been overlooked for the sake of the competitors, his ongoing behavior has given Ms. Mai reason to re-evaluate her position.
“In addition, given Mr. Trump’s ongoing antics, including his most recent episode today with the current Miss Universe,” Jeannie continued, “it is clear that Mr. Trump’s actions have and will continue to distract focus away from the real stars of the show – the women involved in the pageant.”
Jeannie Mai seems to have given the situation due deliberation and proving that she has taken her pledge to stand by the women competing in the pageant regardless of Donald’s public statements, Jeannie has vowed to support the winning competitor.
“Therefore, I am respectfully withdrawing from my responsibilities and commitment as co-host of Miss USA,” Ms. Mai stated. “Although I will no longer be participating as a co-host, I still want to support the women competing in the pageant. I feel the best way to show that is to lend my support to this year’s winner of Miss USA and to make the donation I promised to her platform and charity.”
NBC has already dropped the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, as well as Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice. High profile Companies, such as Macys and Serta, have also distanced themselves from Mr. Trump.
Ms. Mai sympathizes with the women competing for having to suffer the consequences of Mr. Trump’s words, particularly since Donald seems determined to keep fueling the controversy with more social media statements.
“I feel terrible that the women competing this year have fallen victim to current events. Let me be clear, I condemn the recent words of Mr. Trump, and find them immensely offensive,” Ms. Mai said.
[Featured image: Jeannie Mai courtesy of Mark Davis/Getty Images for Women in Film]