Miss Universe Selfie Taken in Wynwood Causes International Uproar

Miss Israel Doron Matalon (left) took a photo with Miss Lebanon Saly Griege (center left), as shown on her Instagram account.
Miss Israel Doron Matalon (left) took a photo with Miss Lebanon Saly Griege (center left), as shown on her Instagram account.
via Instagram

And you thought leaked nude selfies caused a stir.

As the Miss Universe pageant gets underway in Miami, we're all primed for a little excitement and a lot of drama. An early controversy stems from a smiling selfie, of all things. Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, snapped a photo with fellow contestants Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan as they walked around Wynwood last weekend. After the photo started circulating around the web, however, Miss Lebanon, Saly Griege, claimed Matalon "photobombed" the group and that she had been trying to avoid being photographed with Matalon throughout their Miami stay.

Griege's response comes in the face of backlash from Lebanon, where Beirut-based newspaper The Daily Star reports that the beauty queen is being admonished for posing with Miss Israel.

See also: FIU Angers Faculty, Spends More than Half a Million Dollars on Miss Universe Pageant

Some Lebanese asked that Greige be stripped from her title for mingling with the citizen of an enemy state, according to the Star. Greige, who posted the photo with Matalon cropped out, claimed Miss Israel barged into the selfie.

"To all my supporters and Lebanese citizens, I would like to thank you indeed for your continuous support of Miss Lebanon at the Miss Universe contest...

The truth behind the photo, since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss universe,I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss isreal, who tried several times to take a photo with me.

I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie, and uploaded it on her social media.

This is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest."

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Matalon responded on her Instagram, "It doesn't surprise me, but it still makes me sad..."

Miss Universe officials issued a statement Monday also expressing disappointment with the uproar, saying "it is unfortunate to know a photo of four smiling women from different parts of the world, working together at an event, could be misconstrued as anything other than what it is, a celebration of universal friendship."

The Associated Press reports that Lebanese officials are investigating the incident. Lebanese Tourism Minister Michel Pharon told the AP that "if there was bad intentions" from Greige, measures could be taken against her.

The 88 Miss Universe contestants, based at the Trump National Doral Miami, have been touring Miami for the past two weeks. The pageant will be broadcast live on Sunday from the FIU arena.

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