Steve Harvey apologize for mistakenly crowning Colombia at Miss Universe pageant

NEW YORK -- The Miss Universe pageant and host Steve Harvey doubled down on the apologies Monday after an excruciating live television moment -- announcing incorrectly that Miss Colombia had won and then taking the crown from her head to give to a rival from the Philippines.

See Full Article

The fallout from Sunday's show made Harvey an online symbol of "oops" moments, drew a reaction from Colombia's president and even a gloating tweet from Donald Trump, the pageant's former owner.

As televised on Fox, the contest was down to Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo of Colombia and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines when Harvey, a first-time Miss Universe host, proclaimed Gutierrez the winner after a long dramatic pause.

Music swelled, Gutierrez was fitted for a sash, given flowers and a crown was placed on her head. That made it two straight Miss Universe winners for Colombia, where the pageants are taken seriously. She bathed in applause for nearly two minutes before Harvey slowly made his way back onto the stage.

"I have to apologize," he said. "The first runner-up is Colombia."

The camera switched to a bewildered-looking Wurtzbach, who came back on the stage to get the crown as the same celebratory music repeated. Harvey said she'd be taking her first walk as Miss Universe, but mostly she stood immobile. A woman stood in between the two contestants, trying to comfort Arevalo by rubbing her back.

Two minutes later, the comedian who hosts his own daytime talk show as well as the game show "Family Feud" returned, saying "let me just take control of this."

Harvey explained on the air that he misread the card he was given with the names of the winners. Colombia was listed as the first runner-up, and he'd been confused with how it was written. He held up the card for the camera.

"It is my mistake," he said. "Still, it's a great night. Please don't hold it against the ladies. We feel very badly, but it's still a great night."

Harvey later tweeted an apology to the women and viewers. "I feel terrible," he wrote. The Miss Universe organization also issued an apology on Monday.

Wurtzbach later said she was happy to win, but confused and concerned for her rival. She said she tried to approach her backstage, but the Colombian contestant was crying and surrounded by a crowd of women.

"I did not take the crown from her," Wurtzbach said.

Celebrations quickly turned to anger in Colombia, where the hashtag "Respect the Crown" was the country's top trending topic on Twitter. Even the president was upset.

"They put the crown on her head," President Juan Manuel Santos said Monday. "The photos are there to prove it. To me, as a Colombian, she is still Miss Universe."

It was the pageant's first time on Fox, and the Nielsen company said the contest was seen in the United States by 6.2 million people -- strong numbers for the network. The previous Miss Universe on NBC, in January, reached 7.7 million people.

NBC dumped the pageant after Trump, its then-owner, angered many Latinos with comments about immigration. Trump subsequently sold the pageant and tweeted after the flub that it "would never have happened" on his watch. He retweeted someone else's comment that Trump must be happy that the pageant had gone "off the rails" after he sold it.

He softened his tone in an interview on NBC's Today Show, calling Harvey a "great guy" who handled it well. Trump said if he were still in charge of the show, he would make the women share the title.

"Things happen," he said. "It's live television."

Harvey, the comedian, found himself the butt of Internet jokes Monday. One prominent post showed his smiling face under the headline: "Happy Friday!" followed by "Wait, sorry, it's Monday."

Last year, the winner of the Miss Florida pageant had to give back her crown following a vote-tabulation error that was noticed days later. And a transcribing error caused the wrong author's name to be announced for a National Book Award in 2011. Neither event happened on live television, however.


Associated Press writers Kimberly Pierceall in Las Vegas, Jacobo Garcia in Bogota, Colombia, Tony Winton in Orlando, Florida, and Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Officials to turn over Prince investigative files to family

    Entertainment CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- Prosecutors in the county where Prince was found dead have agreed to provide his siblings with investigative documents so the family can determine whether civil litigation is warranted, according to a stipulation filed in court Wednesday. Source
  • RIP, Bozo the Clown: Entertainer Frank Avruch dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    BOSTON -- Longtime Boston television personality and entertainer Frank Avruch, who was the star of the popular children's TV program "Bozo the Clown," has died. He was 89. Avruch died Tuesday at his Boston home from heart disease, his family said in a statement to WCVB-TV . Source
  • Queen Latifah's mom, Rita Owens, has died

    Entertainment CTV News
    In this May 3, 2016, file photo, Queen Latifah, left, and her mother Rita Owens attend VH1's 'Dear Mama' Mother's Day Special taping at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York. In a statement, Latifah said Owens died Wednesday, March 21, 2018, after struggling with a heart condition for many years. Source
  • Ex-Miss Kentucky gets probation for bringing pot into prison

    Entertainment CTV News
    LIMA, Ohio - A former Miss Kentucky who tried to smuggle a small amount of marijuana into an Ohio prison for her boyfriend won't have to spend time behind bars. The Lima News reports 28-year-old Kia Hampton, of Louisville, Kentucky, received probation Wednesday during a hearing in Allen County in western Ohio. Source
  • Success of Juno nominee Jessie Reyez puts spotlight on Toronto's Remix Project

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO - Tucked away on a neighbourhood street in downtown Toronto, a meeting of eager creative minds could be hatching the next music superstar. It's welcome night for the 14th edition of the Remix Project, a mentorship program for young adults looking to enter Canada's music industry, and while most of the new recruits are strangers the energy between them is palpable. Source
  • YouTube tightens restrictions on firearm videos

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- YouTube has tightened its restrictions on firearms videos. The video-serving network owned by Google is banning videos that provide instructions on how to make a firearm, ammunition, high-capacity magazines, and accessories such as bump stocks and silencers. Source
  • Tony-winner Sammy Williams from 'A Chorus Line' dies at 69

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Sammy Williams, who won a Tony Award in the original Broadway production of "A Chorus Line," has died. He was 69. Family spokeswoman and friend Brandee Barnaby says Williams died of cancer Saturday in Los Angeles. Source
  • NFB launches Indigenous Cinema website with more than 200 films to stream

    Entertainment CTV News
    The National Film Board of Canada has launched Indigenous Cinema, a website that offers free streaming of more than 200 titles by Indigenous directors. The website is part of the NFB's three-year Indigenous Action Plan and will also feature playlists and filmmaker biographies. Source
  • Black Panther actress imparts inspirational message to Calgary youth

    Entertainment CBC News
    Much like the character she plays in the blockbuster movie Black Panther, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard knows about staying strong in the face of adversity. The Los Angeles-based actress plays a member of the Dora Milaje in the Marvel Comics film that has broken the $1 billion mark at the box office — and she was also stuntwoman for Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye. Source
  • Canadian rock band Arkells organizes concert to benefit refugees

    Entertainment CTV News
    Still flying high from their trip to South Korea to perform in front of Team Canada during the Winter Games, the Arkells are now excited to do something for newcomers in the city where the band formed. Source