Bolvia’s Miss Universe contestant, Maria Fernanda Pavisic, has come under fire for ‘racist and discriminatory’ remarks made on her social media.
A local city government is seeking to ban the 23-year-old beauty queen from the contest after she posted remarks that were deemed disparaging against other contestants on her Instagram account.
She is now being sued by the mayor’s office from the southern city of Potosí, which filed a complaint with the South American nation’s Office of the Attorney General accusing Maria Fernanda Pavisic of discrimination and racism.
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The Potosí city government is also seeking to have her stripped of her Miss Bolivia title. She is competing in the Miss Universe 2023 contest, which is scheduled to be held on January 4 in New Orleans, USA.
In a video posted to her Instagram stories last week, Miss Pavisic made harsh comments about a range of contestants.
She referred to Miss Paraguay, Miss Brazil and Miss El Salvador as ‘old ladies’ and claimed that the beauty queens representing Ecuador, Aruba, and Curaçao all belong in the ‘thanks for participating’ category.
Pavisic claimed that Miss Venezuela and Miss Peru resembled ‘transsexuals’ and to Miss Argentina as ‘Miss Potosí.’
Referring to Miss Argentina in this way was considered an insult to the women of the southern Bolivian city of Potosí and sparked the action by the Potosi mayor’s office.
Pavisic, who is from the Santa Cruz region, responded with a video posted on her Instagram in which she apologized to the contestants and said that her original remarks were part of a ‘social experiment.’
The post, originally in Spanish, translates to: “There have been many Misses Bolivia but my intention was always to generate change, for a long time I have published positive content, self-love, working with my social project and showing my culture.”
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Pavisic argued that the purpose of her video was to show that social media users always tend to share content that is viewed as negative instead of posts that carry a positive message.
“People decide to support the negative but I risked everything to leave a message, I have always said that it does not matter what people say about you, instead what you think of yourself, and this is clear proof that the last thing that what matters are the comments, but I do care about generating a change or at least that people who see this video and start thinking!” she wrote.
A follow-up post was made reiterating an apology to the city of Potosi.
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“Above all I apologise to the city of Potosi and its people never wanted to offend them, respect your land and your people that at the time I provide [with] much love and support,” she said.
“I respect my country and it’s what I love the most!”
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