Allegations of sexual harassment against a sponsor of the Manila-based Miss Earth 2018 beauty pageant have emerged from their respective Instagram posts—with the organizer refuting on ABS-CBN News some of the allegations.
In their respective Instagram pages, Emma Mae Sheedy of Guam and Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown of England spoke out against an unnamed sponsor who they said had inappropriate behavior during the Miss Earth pre-pageant activities.
While Gyles-Brown did not reveal the name of the sponsor she is accusing of sexual harassment, Sheedy identified him in her Instagram post.
“I joined the pageant to make a difference and be a role model to those around me. I enjoyed a majority of the pageant, but what I did not know is that a specific sponsor from the Manila Yacht Club would change the way I see pageantry and sponsors,” Sheedy said.
Detailing her experience of sexual harassment, she continued: “I was pulled aside multiple times to be invited to Boracay, private islands, and into his house, and insisted that I and ‘the Latino women dance for him.”
Gyles-Brown said she had an experience similar to Sheedy’s, detailing on Instagram how the sponsor “asked for sexual favors in exchange for the crown.”
Sheedy said the sponsor “grabbed my bare backside at the National Costume Competition where I was able to push him away, but he consistently told me not to tell anyone of any of the instances.”
According to Sheedy, Gyles-Brown and Canadian beauty queen Jaime VandenBerg spoke with Lorraine Schuck of Carousel Productions—the organization that owns and runs Miss Earth—about the harassment.
She said Schuck assured them the sponsor will not be part of any other event, but he was still present until the coronation night.
“I was approached by a sponsor on so many occasions… This happened at Manila Yacht Club on a sponsored evening meal away from the team managers behind closed doors. The sponsor also tried to find out what hotel and room I was staying in. Myself and Ms. Canada approached [the] team managers to express our disgust only to be laughed at,” she recalled.
“Another official attendee of the night told me not to cry as I would ruin my makeup!” she added. “There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jaime. I felt traumatized by this experience and had many sleepless nights.”
Hours before Sheedy and Gyles-Brown released their statements, VandenBerg said on Instagram that she “left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care.”
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Schuck refuted some of VandenBerg’s claims, stressing that police officers were with them to make sure the candidates were safe.
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