Last year’s winner of Mrs. World, a beauty pageant for married women, said she would return her crown after she snatched one off the head of the 2021 winner of Mrs. Sri Lanka World, claiming that she was divorced — a violation of pageant rules.
Pushpika de Silva had just been crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka World at a pageant in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last weekend when Caroline Jurie, the 2020 Mrs. World winner, took the stage and announced that “there is a rule that you have to be married and not divorced.”
“So,” she said, “I’m taking my first step saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up.”
Ms. Jurie, 28, then pulled the crown off Ms. de Silva’s head, pulling her hair in the process, before placing it on the runner-up, who was holding back tears and later gave an acceptance speech. Ms. de Silva left the stage as Ms. Jurie, the two runners-up and Chula Padmendra, a Sri Lankan model who was also onstage, hugged. Ms. Padmendra applauded and raised her fist in the air victoriously.
The scuffle was reminiscent of the one at the 2009 Video Music Awards, when Kanye West stormed the stage and grabbed a microphone from Taylor Swift, who had just won best female video, declaring: “I’m going to let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.”
The Mrs. World pageant describes itself on Facebook as “the first beauty pageant in the world for married women, created in 1984.” Ms. Jurie was crowned Mrs. World at the 2020 pageant in Las Vegas, according to the organization’s website.
Ms. de Silva said in a Facebook post after the episode that she was separated and not divorced. She said she had sustained “injuries to my skull” and was pursuing legal action against Ms. Jurie “for the injustice and insult that has taken place.” The police arrested Ms. Jurie and Ms. Padmendra “on charges of simple hurt and criminal cause,” BBC News reported.
“Even though my crown has been snatched in front of everyone insultfully, I will keep my head straight,” Ms. de Silva wrote.
A representative for the Mrs. World organization, which is based in California, according to its Facebook page, referred a request for comment to “where the incident occurred, in Sri Lanka.” One of the pageant’s organizers, Chandimal Jayasinghe, told BBC News: “We are disappointed. It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs. World organization has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
Ms. Jurie, who is Sri Lankan, said in a video posted on Instagram that she wanted to “express my dismay over the recent actions that led to controversy” and that she “only wanted a fair stage.”
“Even if I have to lose the crown for the values I stand for, I believe I am serving the purpose that the Mrs. World crown stands for,” she said before taking off the crown.