Written by Staff Writer by
(CNN) — Miss South Africa and Miss Israel (who was accidentally eliminated from the competition at the beginning of the pageant) both reportedly won the Miss Universe Ireland 2019 competition this past weekend.
But online public displays of support for the two were said to have been particularly strong, with the Twitter hashtags #MissIsrael and #MissSouthAfrica trending.
“It was just a coincidence how the hosting countries had won, we do not have any favorites,” commented Colm Lyon, the vice president of the International Organization of Miss Universe Ireland (IOMUI), which organizes the annual event.
J’zaa & Miss South Africa are back! So excited and stoked about tonight’s BIG WIN!
The show was titled #ThisIsLesAnirack (This Is Ireland) & did you know… it’s a MOTHER****** COUNTRY #MissUSA
Last year at this time we were at a nail biting point :-).
Thanks to everyone who made it happen! 🇮🇪
The Irish eyes are screaming! ❤️🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/eVuEgfHmVj — IOMUI (@WhoIOMUI) March 23, 2019
It’s official. We are headed to The Isle of Croyde!!!
A Mother****** Country ❤️❤️❤️We are IN IT 🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪#MissSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/P2fUdM1X4T — IMUSA (@WHOIOMUI) March 25, 2019
Kdvmgkkk eightsh and welna in muna in Fraish nua #MissUSA #IOMUI #MissSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/g1SwjcmUPm — IMUSA (@WHOIOMUI) March 23, 2019
After weeks of online speculation about a potential racial flap in Ireland, Lyon told CNN in a phone interview that “it was just another game night surprise, it was a great night.”
IOMUI CEO Marie Kelleheris told CNN the organization hadn’t monitored the online response. “We’re fairly new so we haven’t really seen that (response) before.”
The awards ceremony in Durban, South Africa saw an under 25-year-old beauty crown an overall winner, who was also the first runner-up.
But the following day the organization accused its own CEO of putting the two pageant finalists at risk of being disqualified on account of the Muslim faith.
The controversy started after the audience was told the runner-up, Miss Jamaica, was disqualified, without a word.
She proceeded to present the winner, with IOMUI CEO claiming he also had previously been informed that the winner, Miss South Africa, and second runner-up, Miss Israel, would not be allowed to compete in the next round of competition due to the presence of these two ethnicities.
At the after-party, however, Kelleheris, via Twitter, backed away from the threats of disqualification that had sparked the controversy. “There was no way we would disqualify a contestant because she was Muslim.”
In July, IOMUI drew criticism from Britain’s Jewish community after celebrating its 60th anniversary in the disputed Israeli city of East Jerusalem.
At the conclusion of a ceremony held in East Jerusalem, IOMUI announced that the new president was an Irishman who quoted a passage from a Biblical verse calling for Joshua to go to the very city in which King David’s house was set on fire.
That prompted the Board of Deputies of British Jews to call IOMUI “unfit to represent Ireland in any sense.”