Miss Austria and Miss Earth Angelia Ong react to PH bet's Duterte, Hitler comment

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong and Miss Earth Austria 2016 have spoken up after Miss Earth Philippines 2016 Imelda Schweighart's comments on President Rodrigo Duterte and Adolf Hitler drew flak online. 

In a viral clip taken from Imelda's Facebook live video, Imelda tells Miss Earth Austria Kimberly Budinsky, "Our president is doing Hitler stuff in the Philippines."

The original video has since been taken down, but a clip of it has gone viral.

Imelda has also apologized for her words, saying that she supports the president and that the comment was made after she saw headlines regarding Duterte and Hitler.

A few weeks ago, Duterte drew parallells between Hitler's massacre of the Jews to his controversial war on drugs, drawing criticism from the  German governmentHuman Rights Watch, and the Pentagon, among others.

Duterte has since apologized, saying: "I would like to make it [clear] now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans. They do not really want you to tinker with the memory [of Holocaust victims]. Alam natin 'yan (I know that), so I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community."

On Instagram, the current Miss Earth titleholder Angelia Ong spoke about Imelda's comment.

Angelia is the 3rd Miss Earth from the Philippines, with Jamie Herrell winning the title in 2014 and Karla Henry in 2008.

Angelia started by saying that she decided to speak up about the issue because it's been "blown out of proportion," before recounting how she heard about the issue.

She was on her way to the Miss Earth 2016 press presentation, she said, when she heard about it on the radio while stuck in traffic. The press presentation was held at Manila Diamond Hotel on Tuesday, October 11, the same day that Angelia posted her reaction.

"I was able to hear about our representative Imelda Schweighart's latest viral video with Miss Austria and it makes it my stomach sick. Not only because 'He-who-must-not-be-named" was mentioned (not Voldemort [from Harry Potter]), but also because I felt sad on how clueless she was that 'that' wasn't cool to joke about. They had to play it all over again and again [on the radio], then laugh, then say that in the Philippines in general, [they] don't care about sending well-rounded girls to pageants, just as long as they're 'just' pretty, which made the whole thing worse.

"That is not true. Our representatives, no matter what pageant, train so hard just to get the opportunity to represent our flag. Most of us took years to become truly ready. Come on, I think we've proven that already, [earning] us the title of being a powerhouse of beauty queens," Angelia said, mentioning Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, among others.

"I don't agree nor tolerate the things that she [Imelda] did and said in that video. I agree that it was insensitive and somehow immature. Knowing her, I also believe that she didn't mean any harm to Miss Austria and Miss Earth. I don't think she understood the consequences of her words and actions like she should have either. She's a smart and beautiful girl and believe me, there's more to her than that video and the series of posts she had on Facebook. But it's already done, and I know that along with it, something got broken... but, it's not something we can't overcome."

PART 1: I normally just keep my mouth shut if I feel like it's not gonna be worth the time or if it's not gonna do any good. If it will not make anything better, I either ignore or just listen because that's the least I could do. I don't want to fuel the fire, but this issue about Imee's video has blown out of proportion. I was on my way to prepare for Miss Earth 2016 press presentation then traffic kicked in and on the radio, I was able to hear about our representative Imelda Schweighart's latest viral video with Miss Austria and it makes it my stomach sick. Not only because "He who must not be named" was mentioned (not, Voldemort), but also because I felt sad on how clueless she was that "that" wasn't cool to joke about. They had to play it all over again and again, then laugh, then say that in the Philippines in general, don't care about sending well rounded girls in pageants just as long as they're "just" pretty which makes the whole thing worse. That is not true. Our representatives, no matter what pageant, trains so hard just to get the opportunity to represent our flag. Most of us took years to become truly ready. Come on, I think we've proven that already giving us the title of being a powerhouse of beauty queens. We have Pia, Jamie, Bea, Megan, Karla, Shamcey, Janine, Lara and the list goes on... Although I can't expect everyone to understand the things we go through the competition. I don't agree nor tolerate the things that she did and say on that video. I agree that it was insensitive and somehow immature. Knowing her, I also believe that she didn't mean any harm on Miss Austria and Miss Earth. I don't think she understood the consequences of her words and actions like she should've either. She's a smart and beautiful girl and believe me, there's more to her than that video and the series of posts she had on Facebook. But it's already done, and I know that along with it, something got broken... but, it's not something we can't overcome. A photo posted by Angelia Gabrena Ong (@missearth.angelia) on Oct 10, 2016 at 7:49pm PDT

 

Angelia continued in a second post, labeling it "Part 2," where she expressed disappointment in the radio hosts, whom she said did not speak about the message of Miss Earth.

Miss Earth was launched in 2001 by the Philippine-based Carousel Productions, Inc.

"[Miss Earth] deserves so much more but this kind of popularity is not how I want our pageant to be known for," said Angelia. "We have dedicated 16 years to raise awareness and compassion for the environment."

Angelia asked Imelda's critics to stop bullying her online: "I also wish Imee the best of luck and that I hope she learned something from this. She needs our understanding, guidance and support now more than ever. She's been through a lot and I know that's no excuse but please let us stop the bashing and cyber bullying. If others has done bad, lets not add more bad things to it because the outcome will always never bear anything good. Let's empower each other and not bring each other down further.

"By the end of the day, we are all human and we will make mistakes. Also, because we are human, we can also make it right and if not, make it up."

In a postscript, Angelia apologized: "As Miss Earth, and on behalf of the Filipinos who feel the same way that I do... My sincerest apologies to our Miss Earth Austria 2016 and all the Austrians, Germans, and all the people who got offended and affected by the video."

Part 2: I also noticed that not once have they mentioned about the true message of Miss Earth. I feel that Miss Earth, though a Philippine brand, sometimes doesn't get enough support as I expect it to have. It deserves so much more but this kind of popularity is not how I want our pageant to be known for. We have dedicated 16 years to raise awareness and compassion for the environment. On the other hand, as I try my best to look on the brighter side, I hope that the attention this issue brings can bridge the real reason why we do Miss Earth. I hope we still can reach more people about our cause despite this controversy. I also wish Imee the best of luck and that I hope she learned something from this. She needs our understanding, guidance and support now more than ever. She's been through a lot and I know that's no excuse but please let us stop the bashing and cyber bullying. If others has done bad, lets not add more bad things to it coz the outcome will always never bear anything good. Let's empower each other and not bring each other down further. By the end of the day, we are all human and we will make mistakes. Also, because we are human, we can also make it right and if not, make it up. Love, Angelia P.S. As Miss Earth, and on behalf of the Filipinos who feels the same way like I do... My sincerest apologies to our Miss Earth Austria 2016 and all the Austrians, Germans and all the people who got offended and affected by the video. A photo posted by Angelia Gabrena Ong (@missearth.angelia) on Oct 10, 2016 at 7:50pm PDT

 

Miss Earth Austria's reaction

In the same interview where Imelda apologized to those who criticized her, Kimberly also rold reporters that the video and the comments weren't a big deal for her.

"I didn't know why it was a big deal. As I said, it's something we don't really want to talk about because it is something in Austria that is very, you know, they're holding a big thing."

In the video that went viral, Imelda asked Kimberly if Hitler is from Austria, to which Kimberly responded, "Okay, that's a bad question because we normally don't talk about Hitler, but yes he is."

"It's not like that in every part of the world," Kimberly continued during the interview. "I mean, just because Austria is like that. It's fine, it's good. We have a great relationship, you know, really, that's why I didn't understand," said Kimberly.

When asked if she knew anything about Duterte, Kimberly declined to talk further about President Duterte: "I'm not a politician so I don't wanna talk about presidents. I'm here to change the world with environment, not politically, so I think politics are not something we talk about, so I think it's not a big issue."

Kimberly was in the Philippines with Imelda and the other Miss Earth 2016 candidates for the international pageant, which will be held on October 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com