MANILA - Pia Wurtzbach warned fans not to believe those accusing her of being biased against Vietnam's Minh Tu Nguyen when she acted as a judge in the finale of "Asia's Next Top Model."
The Miss Universe 2015 winner took to Instagram on Thursday to dismiss the rumors alleging she unfairly favored her fellow Filipina, eventual winner Maureen Wroblewitz, over Nguyen.
"Please stop the hate, guys," Wurtzbach wrote. "I DO NOT hate Tu. In fact, I think she is beautiful, fierce and strong. She has a spirit that is hard to miss. If there were any misunderstandings from the fans thinking that I hate her, I'm sorry but that's not true. I love Vietnam."
During the finale aired Wednesday, Wurtzbach noted that while Nguyen definitely made her "presence" felt in the final catwalk challenge, she came off a "bit too strong."
"It was a little bit distracting because you have a very expressive face. It's just that you needed control," she told the model.
Her comments apparently did not sit well with fans of Nguyen, prompting the Vietnamese herself to take to social media to clear the air out.
Admitting that she has had her fair share of harsh words thrown at her from fans of Wroblewitz, Nguyen said: "Pia and the other judges have a job to do and they also have their own opinion. They should not receive hate for that."
"I do not want to see my fans and supporters launching that hate on others as how you had to defend me from that same hate."
She added that she is okay with the result of the competition, explaining that she is proud of herself for reaching the Top 3.
"My career after the show is already proof that you do not need to win to be a winner. On to good and positive things!" she said.
Meanwhile, Wurtzbach congratulated Wroblewitz for being the first Filipina to win the popular modelling search.
She brought up past criticisms of Wroblewitz and said: "You have proven them all wrong. Congratulations, Maureen. You have taught us that even when the odds are against you, if your will power to win is strong, you can come out victorious."