After a “tabulation error,” Miss California USA organizers have stripped the original winner of her crown and awarded it to Raquel Beezley, 21.
Officials said that there was a mix-up when the ballots were counted Nov. 25 and that – somehow – the point totals for Beezley (Miss Bartsow) and Christina Silva (Miss Los Angeles) got switched around.
“It’s bittersweet,” Beezley, a waitress at DiNapoli’s Firehouse Pizza in Barstow, said, according to the Associated Press. “I just want [Christina] to know that it was not my fault nor her fault. This has been very hard for the both of us.”
Now the dethroned Silva, 24, has hired an attorney and appeared on Ellen to protest her treatment by pageant execs. She claims she was unduly pressure to relinquish the title, and thinks there’s something fishy about their explanations.
“Everything’s inaccurate and it’s not consistent,” Silva told Ellen DeGeneres Thursday. “All I could do was shake and cry, just cry in my mom’s arms.”
But California pageant executive director Keith Lewis insisted the voting mishap was a simple “human error.” “We have apologized for it,” he said at the re-crowning ceremony. “I’m here today to right that wrong of of crowning the incorrect person.”
(Silva’s $1,500 entrance fee was refunded, and she’s allowed to keep the crown and sash – just not the title.)
This is not the first controversy for Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant. The 2006 winner, Tara Conner, landed in hot water last year over allegations of underage drinking, substance abuse and promiscuity. Trump issued a personal pardon when she agreed to enter rehab.