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Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz Faces Death Threats Over Pageant

Photo : AP

Amidst recent controversies and a succession of scandals plaguing the Miss USA contest, Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii found herself thrust into the limelight after being crowned Miss USA 2023. The 28-year-old assumed the title following the resignation of her predecessor, Noelia Voigt, who cited mental health concerns.

Gankiewicz, who is slated to hold the title until August this year, disclosed to NBC News that she has been subjected to death threats and a barrage of hateful messages since her coronation. In a video shared on X (formerly Twitter), she tearfully expressed the emotional toll of the bullying and harassment she has endured. Despite the challenges, she remains steadfast in her commitment to using her platform to advocate for Lahaina and Maui residents, while also inspiring young women to persevere in the face of adversity.

Voigt's resignation on May 6 came as a surprise to many, as she had recently been crowned the 72nd Miss USA winner in Nevada. In her Instagram announcement, Voigt emphasized the importance of prioritizing one's physical and mental well-being, a sentiment echoed by Gankiewicz in her response to the backlash she has faced.

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The Miss USA contest has been marred by controversy in recent years, with allegations of preferential treatment and misconduct. While these claims were ultimately deemed unsubstantiated by the organization, they have contributed to a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the pageant's credibility. Crystle Stewart, a former Miss USA winner who served as president of the organization, resigned amidst the turmoil, as did her husband Max Sebrechts, who faced accusations of sexual harassment from past participants.

Tragically, Cheslie Kryst, crowned Miss USA in 2019, died by suicide in early 2022. In her memoir, she candidly recounted grappling with longstanding insecurities exacerbated by the pressures of pageant life and the onslaught of online abuse she endured after winning the title.

May 27, 2024 4:18 p.m. 508

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