One day after she had been crowned Miss Michigan by the Miss World America organization, Kathy Zhu was stripped of her title.
Racially and religiously charged comments Zhu had made on Twitter came to the attention of pageant organizers, who ruled that they violated the competition’s rules of “good character.”
After a flurry of text messages and e-mails between Zhu, 20, and organizers, she was told the competition would no longer recognize her and she was to stop mentioning or using images of herself as the pageant’s winner.
Zhu, a conservative activist who is a University of Michigan senior and the social media director for the national group Chinese Americans for Trump, shared on social media an e-mail she had received Thursday from the pageant’s state director, Laurie DeJack.
“It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America ‘MWA’ that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive, and inappropriate content,” DeJack wrote.
The first tweet that drew the scrutiny of the pageant came in response to criticism of police officers about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks?” Zhu wrote on Twitter in October 2017. “Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others.”
In February 2018, in a tweet she has since deleted, Zhu criticized a World Hijab Day awareness event at the University of Central Florida, where she had been a student before transferring.
“There’s a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus,” Zhu wrote at the time. “So you’re telling me that it’s now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam.”
Zhu said in an interview Saturday that her tweets had been taken out of context and that she was punished for her conservative views.
“They just immediately assumed that I was a racist,” said Zhu, vice president of the College Republicans at the University of Michigan. “They should have let me explain myself.”
DeJack declined to comment Saturday and referred questions to the Miss World America organization, an international competition that dates to 1951.