You might remember the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, not for who won but for who didn’t: It was the ceremony in which host Steve Harvey infamously named the wrong winner, summoning Miss Colombia when the victor was actually Miss Philippines. He apologized, and his apology was not only accepted but he was asked to host again in 2016, and again in 2017, and again in 2018, and again this year. And wouldn’t you know, he had another notable mix-up.
As per Entertainment Weekly, the radio and game host plus bestselling self-help author was introducing the winner of the costume contest, but due to a mix-up he got the wrong woman. He was supposed to be talking to the winner, Gazini Ganados, aka Miss Philippines. Instead he spoke to Shweta Sekhon, aka Miss Malaysia. Harvey introduced her as Miss Philippines, at which point Sekhon demanded the mic and sharply corrected him.
— J E F F R E Y 🎤 (@jepoydizon95) December 9, 2019
Harvey was quick to profess his innocence, pointing the blame elsewhere. “Okay, well, let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Y’all got to quit doing this to me,” Harvey said. “I can read, they said now, they’re trying to fix it now. See, this what they did to me back in 2015. Played me short like that. This is Malaysia. I really love this national costume of Malaysia. This is crazy.”
No, misidentifying a winner’s country of origin isn’t the same as calling the wrong winner during the night’s thrilling climax, and it was an accident. But there was another slip-up during the ceremony. Later, Harvey called up Miss Colombia, Gabriela Tafur, to tell her she’d cracked the Top 20. The host made sure to visibly check the card, ensuring he was IDing the correct country, prompting Tafur to joke that she’d forgiven him his previous mistake. To which Harvey replied, “You’ve forgiven me. They haven’t — the cartel, they’re not handling it the same way.”
Viewers and those who caught wind of the insensitive gag on social media took Harvey to task, for that and for his generally lax performance in general.
— JM🅥 (@ItsJM__) December 9, 2019
Worst host ever @IAmSteveHarvey , absolutely disrespectful the joke of the “Cartels”. We are a great country full of good people and we don’t deserve that image anymore. Surprising how ignorant a host can be, recommend you to open a book once in a while. Joke a out of place!
— Andres Simon (@AndresSimon_) December 9, 2019
Why is Steve Harvey still hosting #MissUniverse2019?
He’s making cartel jokes about Colombia.
Mistaking Malaysia for the Philippines.
It’s not funny.
— Michelle Moreno-Silva (@MichelleMorenoo) December 9, 2019
I like how @IAmSteveHarvey makes a joke about the cartel to #MissColombia and then cut to her package and she’s like “I’m a lawyer and have been fighting violence in my country.” Get it girl. And Steve, sit down man. #MissUniverse
— Spenser Wempe (@SpenserWempe) December 9, 2019
@MissUniverse The "joke" that Steve Harvey said two times about the colombian cartel, is disrespectful and xenophobic. He shouldn't be presenter never again and you need to make him excuse to the colombians!!! #MissUniverse2019
— Sonia #RealengaYNoMeVendo (@OrdenDivino) December 9, 2019
In other news, the night’s top prize went to Zozibini Tunzi, aka Miss South Africa.