Miss Papua New Guinea has been “released” from her duties after posting a now-deleted video of her twerking, with the decision to let her go prompting outcry.
Lucy Maino was crowned Miss Papua New Guinea in 2019 and had continued with her pageant duties after last year’s pageant had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month Ms Maino, 25, posted a video on TikTok of her twerking, with the clip drawing criticism and being widely shared on other social media accounts, the Guardian reported.
Detractors accused Ms Maino, who has since deleted the video, of not behaving like a “role model” and she was harassed online as a result.
In response, Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG (MPIP PNG) committee put out a statement last week saying Ms Maino would no longer be representing Papua New Guinea.
In a Facebook post the committee said it had reached an “amicable decision” with Ms Maino to end her duties.
“Our core purpose is empowerment of women. We are a unique pageant-style platform that promotes cultural heritage, traditional values and sharing through tourism about our country and people,” they said.
“MPIP PNG promotes the virtues of confidence, self-worth, integrity and community service with a parallel focus on education.”
But the decision was met with outcry, with the United Nations in Papua New Guinea releasing a statement afterwards condemning the online harassment Ms Maino had experienced.
“While constructive criticism and dissenting views are legitimate, bullying is NEVER acceptable in any form: neither digital or in-person,” they wrote in a statement shared to Facebook.
“We see the devastation of violence against women and children in this beautiful country. Some through bulling have lost their lives.”
One person wrote on Twitter that the decision revealed “a deep-seated culture of misogyny” and she “deserves her crown back”.
A former Miss PNG, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Guardian the video would have gotten a different reaction if it had been done by a man.
“I am sure if a male public figure did a TikTok (video), we would all be laughing or even praising him,” she said.