Steve Harvey has hosted the Miss Universe pageant every year since 2015, which is kind of remarkable if you remember what happened in 2015. The comedian had announced Miss Colombia as the winner, before sheepishly returning to the stage and saying that actually, Miss Colombia was first runner-up and Miss Philippines had triumphed.
In the spirit of “There’s no such thing as bad press,” the Miss Universe pageant has returned Steve Harvey every year since then. His hosting had been uncontroversial until this year, when the presenter found himself in the middle of another awkward flub. Again, it involved the Republic of the Philippines. This time the controversy centered on a National Costume contest, and as we learned later, it wasn’t actually Harvey’s fault.
Reading from the teleprompter, Harvey said, “Earlier this week, all the contestants competed in a National Costume contest. Here’s the look at the winner, Miss Philippines.”
A photograph of Miss Philippines flashed across the screen, and no harm would have been done, except for a truly indefensible decision by the producers. They had arranged for Harvey to say these words standing next to Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon. The understandably confused Sekhon gestured for the microphone.
“It’s not Philippines. It’s Malaysia,” she said.
Steve Harvey was quick to blame the teleprompter. “Let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Ya’ll got to quit doing this to me. I can read.” He continued, “Now, they are trying to fix it now. See? This is what they did to me back in 2015 — played me short like that.”
But the teleprompter was correct. Everything had gone to plan, and the only issue was that the plan involved a losing contestant standing on stage when the winner was announced. The producers later released a statement absolving Harvey of blame, although they stopped short of acknowledging their own role in Miss Malaysia’s confusion. Via Fox,
“Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados is the winner of the Miss Universe 2019 National Costume competition. As part of the broadcast, we also featured Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon’s national costume. Miss Sekhon wasn’t aware we’d be announcing Philippines first, so she jumped the gun when Mr. Harvey started with that news. Mr. Harvey made a joke of it so as not to embarrass her, but no mistakes regarding the national costume winner were made by him, the prompter or production.”
That was the biggest scandal of the night, but it wasn’t Steve Harvey’s only moment of controversy.
During the interview portion of the evening, Steve Harvey read out a question about climate change. After he was done, cameras caught him give an over-the-top eye roll.
Furthermore, when he announced that Miss Colombia made it into the final 20, Harvey made a joke about “the cartel” that some found stereotypical and offensive. Miss Colombia sarcastically asked if Harvey was sure he’d gotten it right this time, referencing the 2015 mixup. She then added, “You are forgiven.” Harvey said, “You’ve forgiven me… not the cartel.” Many on Twitter have criticized the joke and demanded an apology.
In the end, Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados won the costume contest, and Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi won the overall title of Miss Universe. We at CoS just hope that Miss South Africa can put these controversies behind her and get back to ruling the universe, or whatever it is that Miss Universe does. (Looks up what Miss Universe does.) Wait, they’re just ranking women by the way they look? In 2019? No, that can’t be right. Anyway, congrats to our new galactic overlord!
Damn, Steve Harvey fucked up again pic.twitter.com/ANL1AO7zkN
— adam ferrone (@_rone) December 9, 2019
— Paul Glenn (@pdglenn) December 9, 2019
— JM🅥 (@ItsJM__) December 9, 2019