Miss Universe contestant distances herself from controversial photo

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MIAMI — Miss Lebanon Saly Greige is distancing herself from a photo of her and Miss Israel Doron Matalon that’s causing an online uproar.

The picture appeared on Matalon’s Instagram feed on January 11. It shows Matalon smiling with Greige, Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan in Miami, where the Miss Universe pageant will take place on Wednesday.

“Good morning from us!” reads the caption.

The image ignited a wide-ranging debate in the comments of the picture about the ongoing conflict between Israel and much of the Arab world.

Greige posted a statement on her Facebook page Saturday to explain what she called “the truth behind the photo.”

From the start of pageant preparations, Greige said, she was “very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.”

As she explains it, she was posing for a photo with Miss Japan and Miss Slovenia when “suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media,” she said.

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

Miss Universe organizers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Matalon weighed in Sunday after a website posted an article with the headline “Miss Lebanon in Trouble.” She took a screenshot of the article and captioned it, “It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad,” and posted it on her social media accounts.

“Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

Comments on her original photo echoed the sentiment:

“As a Lebanese, I really don’t see anything wrong with this picture. It’s time we promote peace over violence as the latter has gotten us no where. And if you really wanna discuss politics, it surely shouldn’t be under the picture of 4 beautiful ladies who have nothing to do with your b******t. Good luck ladies!”


  • Karen Harriman

    It is a beautiful photo. I believe if we are all to survive in this world we live in, there should be no classifications of people of the world. We are all part of the human race. To promote this kind of segregation further instills hatred and self righteousness. No one is any better than another. It is our hope one day there will be global peace in the world, that all people will have opportunities to follow their dreams and have basic human rights. I pray that love will abound and we can universally reach out our hands to our fellow brothers and sisters of the world and in one voice say enough is enough. No more war and blood shed. No more tears for we shall not remain oppressed!

  • numb founded

    The full-face beauty of Saly Greige dominates the photo for me. Not knowing Ms Israel’s motivations makes it impossible to judge what she did, and the author of this article should have interviewed her about it. Of course the contestants need to consider their constituent’s, but the pageant should be as non-political as possible, I feel. Try to respect one another, ladies.

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