SINGAPORE: A beauty queen in Myanmar released a statement on Tuesday (Oct 3) saying she had been stripped of her crown after remarks she made about the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
Shwe Eain Si, who was Miss Grand Myanmar, had earlier posted a video which accused Rohingya militants of stoking the unrest in Rakhine State.
According to Shwe Eain Si's statement, pageant organisers revoked her title because "she breached contract rules and did not behave like a role model".
The current crisis unfolded when attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine on Aug 25 spurred a ferocious Myanmar army crackdown that the UN said amounted to "ethnic cleansing".
More than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have since fled to Bangladesh amid the violence.
In the video, which was interspersed with gruesome photos of mutilated bodies, Shwe Eain Si expressed a view widely held among the Myanmar public that the Rohingya militants have led a "media campaign" to trick the world into thinking "they are the oppressed".
The model, who posted the statement on her Facebook page, said the grounds for her dethronement were "laughably childish".
She said her video on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army "hardly qualified as a failure to project a decent image of a pageant contestant".
She added she was "well aware of the consequences" before she made the video but "decided to make it all the same", saying she was obliged as a citizen to speak out on the situation in Myanmar.
On Wednesday, Miss Universe Myanmar denied that the reason it punished the beauty queen was for her video and even offered some praise for the clip, which made no mention of the Rohingya exodus.
"The decision of Miss Universe Myanmar organisation regarding Shwe Eain Si was not related at all with the Rakhine video," the company said in a Facebook post.
It added: "Although the video file posted now is good, it would be better if it was filmed more completely."
The firm's original statement said Shwe Eain Si had been stripped of her title for breaking a number of rules.