MANILA (UPDATE) – Two other Miss Earth 2018 candidates have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against a sponsor of the Manila-based pageant.
In their respective Instagram pages, Emma Mae Sheedy of Guam and Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown of England spoke out against a sponsor who allegedly behaved inappropriately during 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.”
She added that 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 that the sponsor will not be part of any other event, but he was still present until the coronation night.
My side of the Miss Earth International Experience: - After a year and a half of preparation for my first beauty pageant; the Miss Earth pageant, I was excited to travel back to the Philippines for the 6th time. The hospitality of the Filipinos is not found anywhere else. The Philippines is like a second home to me. 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. The sponsor who’s name is Amado S. Cruz became a problem for many of the delegates, including myself. To focus on ONLY myself, 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.” Amado S. Cruz 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 about any of the instances. At the Manila Yacht Club, Amado S. Cruz ensured that the team managers and security personnel were separated in another room, this is where he made many girls uncomfortable. A groups of us left the room because we felt uncomfortable, but Amado S. Cruz followed us and insisted that we stayed inside to dance with him. We asked our team managers to bring us to the busses, which took over 20 minutes for them finally to do. Later on that night @missjaimeyvonne and @Miss.Earth.England spoke on the phone with Lorraine Schuck, the Vice President of Miss Earth, who assured them that Amado S. Cruz would not be at any other event. From the moment the pageant started until coronation night, Amado S. Cruz was at every event and dinner he could physically get to. Since other delegates have posted, multiple other queens from past years have come out about the same behavior. I want to help put a stop to this sponsor being apart of the Miss Earth International Pageant because he has become a problem for years. #missearth2018 #missearth #MeToo @missearth
Gyles-Brown shared a similar experience with Sheedy, detailing on Instagram how the sponsor “asked for sexual favors in exchange for the crown.”
“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 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 shared 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 are safe.
In a statement released late Thursday, Schuck said she had requested all the delegates to submit a written statement in able to find out if they experienced a similar incident so that the organization can take appropriate action.
"I also wanted to find out if any of the other delegates could corroborate the complaint of Miss Canada and Miss England so we could use the statements to help the two in case they decided to file a case against the alleged harasser," she said.
"We were ready to support the two in any action they may have wished to take against the individual who offended them."
Schuck reiterated that the Miss Earth organization "does not condone nor tolerate any rude or immoral behavior towards the delegates by sponsors or anybody for that matter."