PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier fell short of the Miss Universe crown not based on merit but because of Haiti’s perceived challenges to hosting the next Miss Universe competition in 2018, according to a rumor circulating widely on social networks and disavowed by the tourism expert it was attributed to.
The rumor is said to have began on Whatsapp. It was then shared on Facebook by Francois J. Adrien. It cites Pierrot Chauvet, an expert in the Haitian tourism industry according to the post, who made the following statement; originally in French:
The latest news, the winning country receives the next Miss Universe competition. Haiti with its image, reputation and lack of infrastructure may have disturbed… Haitians are obviously winning but our country has lost in relation to France.
The Haiti Sentinel could not independently confirm whether Pierrot Chauvet, cited in the statement is an expert in Haiti’s tourism industry or whether it is the same person as, Pierre Chauvet, a member of several state and civil society organizations and Editor-in-Chief of Le Nouvelliste, President of the Touristic Association of Haiti (ATH), a member of the Federation of Friends of Nature and served as Director of Reception Agency of the Citadel.
Pierre Chauvet took extreme exception to Haiti Sentinel’s article while disavowing ever having made the aforementioned statement. A family member also told the Sentinel that Pierrot Chauvet, the nickname given to Pierre’s father, passed away many years ago.
In a statement to the Haiti Sentinel, Mr. Chauvet wrote:
I do not know you or the author of this article and never produced any statement to Haiti Sentinel in regards to the article where you took the liberty of mentioning my name as the author of a statement in regard to Miss Universe.
According to the journalism code of ethic , I request you remove my name in your article and refrain doing so in the future. I also request you publish this statement in your newspaper for the record and to avoid any further actions.
Pelissier, Miss Universe Runner-Up Content
The Miss Universe Runner-Up congratulated Miss France and has expressed content and gratitude for her participation in the competition held in the Philippines. She told reporters afterwards that she would not change a thing.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling awesome. I am happy, I am so blessed I could make people recognize that Haiti is great and Haiti is wonderful, that we are worth being here in Miss Universe…”
“I would not change a thing because things happen because God wanted it that way. If I have to be first runner up, this is what has to happen. I am just happy.”
“It felt amazing. I thought it was a dream. I did not believe my ears. I did not believe everybody cheering and I felt so great answering the question. I felt so great having my country behind my back and I am just happy that it went well.”
Prior to the competition, Pelissier almost didn’t make it to the Philippines because its government was unable to support her in light of recent disasters that hit Haiti. Determined to represent Haiti in the pageant, Pelissier took to the internet to raise funds.
President-elect Jovenel Moise congratulated Pelissier for her repesentation. “I salute the brilliant participation of our compatriot Raquel Pelissier in the Miss Universe contest. Haiti is proud of her performance,” he said in a statement.
The Ministry of Tourism released a statement saying, “Congratulations to Raquel Pélissier, ranked 2nd in the Miss Universe contest. Haiti thanks you for floating high its bicolor.”
Correction, January 31, 2017 4:51 PM EST: An earlier version of this article affirmatively attributed the circulating rumor to Pierre Chauvet. The article has been updated to include his letter of disavowal and declare the circulating information a rumor.