Miss Philippines slammed for Palestine 'cultural theft' post
Beatrice Luigi Gomez posted pictures to Instagram of herself and her fellow contestants preparing Palestinian food and wearing traditional Palestinian dresses, but captioned them with #VisitIsrael - angering social media users.
This comes just days before Gomez competes in the 70th edition of Miss Universe in the city of Eilat on 12 December, which Israeli organisers hope will promote their country as a tourist destination, despite activists calling for a boycott of the pageant over Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.
"Miss Universe organisers in Israel and contestants are appropriating Palestinian culture... with zero recognition of the hundreds of generations of Palestinians who passed this cultural identity down," Twitter user Layth Hanbali said in response to Gomez's post.
"Needless to say, there is not even a hint to the Palestinians who have had this cultural identity suppressed, denied and stolen by Zionism," Hanbali continued.
Some accused the competition and its contestants of "whitewashing colonialism", others called Israel out for trying to "steal everything Palestinian related".
A day of the Palestinian Bedouin life, wearing a Palestinian Thobe, preparing Palestinian/Arabian food, and promoting to visit Israel DON'T get a long together Miss Universe 2021. It's ignorance, oppressive, and whitewashing colonialism. pic.twitter.com/pvr9rnkNxI— Issam Adwan 🇵🇸 (@Issam_Adwan) December 8, 2021
this is so funny to me. miss universe wearing tradition palestinian thobes while making tradional palestinian food but is promoting israel?? this is so embarrassing for them omg not even trying to hide it anymore that they want to steal everything palestinian related pic.twitter.com/PuBQ27hn2S— ً (@dinodks) December 7, 2021
Others still labelled the scenes "cultural theft and appropriation".
Cultural theft and appropriation of the Palestinian thobe and embroidery during the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. How much ugliness, monstrosity, and objectification can one event have? https://t.co/AGE0D1ky0O— نماء (@itsmenamaa) December 7, 2021
Gomez's fellow contestants have also caused controversy in the run-up to the competition.
A video showing Miss Universe Thailand, Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, entering Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked anger among Palestinians last week.
Candidates from Indonesia and Malaysia withdrew from the contest following the calls to boycott.