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Miss Universe Organization defends 2021 titleholder Harnaaz Sandhu against body shamers

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Mar 17, 2022 5:10 pm

The Miss Universe Organization has come to the defense of Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu against unkind comments about her weight.

The comments appeared in a video posted by the organization's Facebook page on March 16, where Sandhu is seen explaining the unique diversity of the Indian language.

"There are 270 mother languages in India, with approximately 121 being spoken today," the beauty queen said.

Although the clip was about Indian culture, a number of netizens harped on about Sandhu's appearance, which, as they commented, was "a lot different from the time she won."

One Facebook user even said, "YIKES! WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT WEIGHT GIRL?? Someone needs a diet!! And that outfit [is] off the rack!! Did she bought it at Ross??" 

Another one commented, "She gained so much weight."

Other comments not fit to print were downright mean and even vulgar.

The Miss Universe Organization later came to the defense of Sandhu and posted a comment on the post that read, "The Miss Universe Organization does not tolerate bullying of any kind. We are a community built to champion, encourage, and uplift one another."

"There is no room for hate here," it added.

Prior to the organization's statement, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray already spoke against the reigning queen's bashers during the press launch of P-pop reality show Top Class: The Rise to P-pop Stardom earlier this month.

"I think it's really unfortunate that the public still finds the need to tear women down in that way," Gray said. "We’re campaigning so hard that a beauty queen, or titlist, or Miss Universe should be more than an image."

"And she is not limited by what her body shape is," Gray continued. "She is a spokesperson at the end of the day—that's what I believe—and she is effectively doing her role as a Miss Universe, and I feel that she should be celebrated."

Sandhu, for her part, addressed the issue in a Q&A video posted on Miss Universe's Instagram page on March 4.

She said, "I think everybody has their own perspective, but [at] the end of the day, I know it's me, and how much I love myself."

"Maybe I'm going through some changes. Maybe I didn't sleep well last night, maybe my face is looking puffy or maybe this is who I am because we all change at the end of the day. And I think we need to become beautiful. We need to love ourselves, we go through changes, and that should be relatable."

"So this is me, and I love myself," Sadhu concluded.