Twenty-year-old conservative activist and prominent Trump supporter Kathy Zhu was reportedly stripped of her Miss Michigan crown from the Miss World America Organization over past “insensitive” social media posts and her refusal to try on a hijab at a college event in 2018.
Zhu is a Chinese immigrant who moved to the United States at age five; she became popular in conservative circles for both her support for Donald Trump during the 2016 election and for fighting off students attempting to get her expelled from the University of Central Florida for refusing to try on a hijab — an event that allegedly helped get the conservative stripped of her beauty pageant accomplishments.
According to Newsweek, Zhu was named as an Indiana and Michigan 2019 national finalist earlier this week in a bid to move on to the Miss Teen World America preliminary and finals set for October.
However, the student was soon informed by the organization via email that she would have to turn in her sash and crown and disassociate with the group over past “offensive, insensitive, and inappropriate” social media posts.
“Miss World America’s State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive,” Zhu wrote in a post via Twitter, captioning screenshots of an email exchange between her and Miss World America. “They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and ‘insensitive’ statistical tweets.”
Zhu also posted screenshots of text message exchanges between her and Miss World America Michigan State Director Laurie DeJack immediately preceding her dismissal from the organization. DeJack singled out a tweet from Zhu concerning black-on-black crime.
“Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others,” the tweet reads.
Responding to DeJack, Zhu wrote via text, “How is that racist? It’s statistics. Didn’t know statistics were racist.”
DeJack then suggested the tweet was posted by Zhu’s boyfriend.
“I will stop by your house to give you back the crown/sash,” answered Zhu. “This is ridiculous and to work with someone that thinks statistics is racist is the last thing I want to do. … You’re supposed to stand up for me, not guilt trip me and then make snarky remarks about my boyfriend.”
“I’m completely hurt over this but I hope you find a better candidate that will advocate for brainless ideals like ‘world peace,’” she added.
“It’s not a statistic,” DeJack said of the tweet in question. “It’s a comment with no statistics to back it up.”
“Maybe you should read [an] educational journal on the statistics of blacks killing other blacks,” Zhu wrote. “I go to school for this.”
Zhu also responded via email to the organization over her ouster, pushing back on Miss World America’s apparent opposition to the conservative’s refusal to wear a hijab. “[W]hat is ‘insensitive’ is that women in the Middle East are getting STONED TO DEATH for refusing to obey their husband’s orders to wear hijabs,” she wrote. “A Muslim woman tried to FORCIBLY put a hijab on my head without my permission. I tweeted about it on my social media, and it got the attention of the media. Almost everyone was supportive of me refusing to be put in that situation.”
On Friday morning, Zhu thanked her supporters and announced that she will not be taking legal action against the organization because they have “suffered enough negative publicity.”
“I woke up this morning with an overwhelming amount of support; I can’t thank you all enough. I am glad this story came to light because this is more than just some beauty pageant, this is about the prejudice views against people with ‘different opinions,’” she said.
“I will not be taking any legal action against the organization, I think they have suffered enough negative publicity — especially because they wanted to decrown me due to not wanting bad publicity in the first place.”
“When they go low, we go high,” she added.