After losing her crown as Miss Florida USA 2017 for allegedly using her own professional hair and makeup artists, Genesis Davila is suing the organization for $15 million.
Davila was awarded the title of Miss Florida USA on July 16, but was stripped of the sash six days later. The pageant’s executive director, Grant Gravitt, says that he found evidence that Davila had violated the rules by hiring her own personal hair and makeup artists, rather than using the ones provided by the show.
Davila’s attorney, Richard Wolfe, says that Gravitt and the organization’s accusations are false. Seeking damages for defamation, Davila is suing the pageant owners – Gravitt, Tel-Air Interests, Inc. and IMG Universe, LP.
“We believe [Gravitt] acted maliciously and intentionally, to defame and hurt my client,” Wolfe said in a press conference Monday in Miami.
Wolfe says that Gravitt falsely presented a photo from Davila’s social media account of Davila having her makeup done by a professional, and alleged that it was taken the day of the pageant. However, Wolfe says that Gravitt cropped the image to remove the date, and it was in fact taken on July 9, seven days before the pageant, for a photo shoot.
“We have a smoking gun,” Wolfe said, referring to the photo. “I’ve never seen such a strong smoking gun showing one man’s malice.”
Along with the lawsuit, Wolfe is also filing an emergency injunction to restore Davila’s crown immediately.
“I am innocent,” Davila said at the press conference. “All these false allegations have taken me completely by surprise. I have faced many challenges in my life, but nothing like this. I am honest, hardworking, who was raised in ideals and principals. I am putting all my faith in my attorney and the justice system to prove my innocence and save my reputation.”
The day Gravitt revoked Davila’s crown, he said that it was necessary to keep the competition fair.
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“We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules,” Gravitt told Miami’s ABC 10. “Whether it’s something major or minor, it’s all about keeping an equal and level playing field. Unfortunately, our title holder sought an unfair competitive advantage, and that’s just not acceptable in our system.”
“She made a poor life choice.”
Rumors continue to swirl around why Gravitt would want to removed Davila’s crown, with Wolfe claiming it’s because Gravitt wanted an “insider” to win, not Davila, who was chosen by the independent panel. Wolfe also claimed that the runner-up, Linette De Los Santos, who then won in Davila’s place, “is an insider,” though he did not explain what it means to be an insider.
Davila says she was shocked by Gravitt’s allegations.
“I don’t think there’s a way that I can put it into words,” she said. “I was taken by surprise. I’m devastated.”