A group has launched a campaign on Facebook to reinstate Kristhielee Caride as Miss Universe Puerto Rico, who was stripped of her crown after she was dismissive during an interview with the local press — she told a newspaper reporter she "didn't love the cameras.”
Her statement caused a stir in the pageant-loving island and Caride was deemed too rude to wear the crown.
The "Miss Universe Puerto Rico Boycott" page was created last Thursday, the same day the Miss Universe organization announced runner-up Brenda Jiménez was replacing Caride as new queen.
Its first post is a picture of Desirée Lowry, national director of Miss Universe Puerto Rico, with the caption "Desiree out."
"We want Kristhielee Caride back, the queen of the people, our queen," reads the page’s description.
The group encourages people to post pictures with messages supporting Caride. By Monday early afternoon more than 2,400 Facebook users had liked the page.
Lowry said she was appalled when she heard the beauty queen say those words.
"I wanted the earth to swallow me," Lowry said. "You always have to put your best face forward ... it's a given that we are going to be in front of cameras and that we have to answer all types of questions."
Caride asked for forgiveness after the interview, saying she'd had a bad day. But after pageant officials refused to budge on their decision, she threatened to take the matter to court. She told El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper, that she was exploring her legal options.
"I can't understand how they made such a definitive decision when I've always been so punctual and have done everything that is asked of me," the 24-year-old contestant told the newspaper.
Lowry said after promising not to repeat her mistake, Caride then canceled other appearances because she said she had a doctor's appointment that she refused to reschedule.
Lowry then introduced the new Miss Universe contestant at a press conference held on Thursday at a restaurant in the capital of San Juan. Brenda Jiménez appeared in a sparkling tiara and a strapless red dress with a somewhat surprised look on her face.
"I still haven't fully processed the information," she said.
It is the first time a Puerto Rico Miss Universe contestant has lost her crown before the big event is held. Miss Puerto Rico 1994, Brenda Robles, was dismissed during that year's Miss Universe contest because she was pregnant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.