There is no peace in the world of the Miss USA pageant.
The organization is being rocked by cheating and favoritism accusations, and contestants aren't hiding their feelings, as several walked off the stage when Miss Texas, R'Bonney Gabriel, was crowned the new winner.
Several contestants are convinced that R'Bonney was the predetermined winner, as evidenced by the lead up to the Monday, Oct. 3, crowning ceremony. The seemingly-shunned women point to the fact that the Asian and Filipina American was hugely tight with Miss USA director Crystle Stewart and visited a plastic surgery spa, a key part of the winning prize, weeks before being crowned. The eventual winner — Miss Texas — also participated in a pageant coaching business that is run by Crystle, which solidified the women's friendship.
Miss Montana, Heather Lee O'Keefe, took to TikTok to outline the cheating claims.
"Most of the Miss USA contestants feel very strongly that there was favoritism towards Miss Texas USA and we have the receipts to prove it," she said in a TikTok video, via MailOnline. "We are putting our titles on the line, putting our reputations on the line."
In another video, she said, "That's how strongly we feel about believing and standing up for what is right. There is many of us who have even said we are willing to relinquish our titles to take this stand because that's how serious we are about this."
While it's customary for Miss USA contestants to stay on stage and applaud the winner, video showed the beauty queens leaving in a mass exodus after R'Bonney's win.
Miss Texas' rivals believe the fix was in long before the crowning evening. A video of Crystle doing R'Bonney's hair weeks before the ceremony is just one piece of the controversy. In addition, Heather pointed to a video of R'Bonney being pampered at the NIZUC Resort & Spa over two months ago — the resort tweeted out the video shortly after the win. The spa visit is typically gifted in the days after the win, not months before.
"@MissUSA was crowned less than 24 hours ago, yet she already got her sponsored vacation to @NIZUCResort," Heather said. "Are you kidding me? I was giving y'all the benefit of the doubt, but this is just embarrassing at this point."
Miss Texas, Heather also claims, was the only one featured on the Miss USA website. Further, it turns out that one of the judges of Miss USA is allegedly the founder of a beauty company affiliated with NIZUC.
"Ever since Miss Texas was crowned a couple months ago, she has been shown favoritism by the Miss USA organization through their businesses that are also all owned by the same woman," Heather said.
Former Miss USA contestant Jasmine Jones, who has been involved in pageantry for a decade, also said the favoritism is "obvious" and insisted the mass exodus was a "big tell-all" that "something was off."
"In the background, girls were literally clapping [weakly] and they started exiting the stage before she even turned around for her congratulatory hug from other contestants," she said. "Before she even got halfway down the runway for her crowning moment, the contestants behind her were exiting the stage."
Several women in the Class of 2021, Heather alleged, have filed a lawsuit against the organizers.