LOS ANGELES – A Mexican tourism official issued an apology for the jeers aimed at Miss USA in May during an international beauty contest in Mexico City.
Rachel Smith, the U.S. entrant into the Miss Universe competition, was booed by some of the audience after she slipped and fell during an evening-gown competition. Her fall and the audience reaction briefly attracted international attention.
Gabriel Szekely, chief of staff for Mexico's tourism department, wrote in a letter that he regretted the "unfortunate events" of the pageant.
"We understand the concern of the people of the United States about the incorrect behavior of a small group that attended the event," Szekely wrote. "We apologize for the inconvenience, and be sure that Miss Rachel Smith will always be welcome in Mexico."
The letter was addressed to Los Angeles homeless activist Ted Hayes. It came after Hayes and a second activist, David Hernandez, complained to Ruben Beltran, the city's consul general of Mexico. It has been forwarded to Smith.
The audience's reaction to Smith was thought to reflect Mexico's sometimes tense relationship with the U.S. The pageant was held as lawmakers in the U.S. were debating immigration reform.
Smith was the fourth runner-up at the pageant. Miss Japan, Riyo Mori, went on to win the crown.