(NewsNation) — Miss USA contestants are speaking out, saying organizers rigged the pageant.
Miss Montana Heather Lee O’Keefe first made the cheating accusation on social media following the crowning of Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel.
In her TikTok video, which has been viewed more than 60,000 times, O’Keefe says “most of the Miss USA contestants feel very strongly that there was favoritism towards Miss Texas USA and we have the receipts to prove it.”
O’Keefe told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert that Gabriel explicitly broke her Miss USA contract. .
“We are not allowed to enter into any kind of personal services contracts, including brand ambassadorships with any individual corporation or organization, and Miss Texas USA breached this agreement when she accepted the invitation from NIZUC Resort.”
O’Keefe also said that Gabriel had a personal relationship with the president of the Miss USA organization, Crystle Stewart. Gabriel apparently worked with Stewart before being crowned as Miss Texas in Miss ACADEMY, a pageant coaching business.
“The issue here is the blatant favoritism (regarding) Miss Texas USA … She got a better prize package than every state,” O’Keefe said.
“All of us work so hard to get onto that stage. I personally have put at least 10 years into this, not to mention the the money that I’ve put into this … and just the dream that we’ve all had since we were little girls to be on the Miss USA stage. We thought this was an ethical and moral organization. It just turned out to not be that way, so that’s why we’re all so heartbroken over this,” O’Keefe added.
The Miss USA organization has responded to the allegations, saying that the contest was not “rigged.”