A young woman was stripped of the Miss Michigan crown on Thursday over her old tweets expressing conservative political views.
Kathy Zhu, a 20-year-old University of Michigan student and pro-Trump activist, said Friday that the offending posts involved her “refusal to try on a hijab” and reference to “black on black gun violence.”
“Miss World America’s State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive,” she tweeted. “They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and ‘insensitive’ statistical tweets.”
Zhu, the social media director for the national group Chinese Americans for Trump, also shared screen shots of what she said were text message and email exchanges between her and the organization’s state director, Laurie DeJack.
DeJack appeared to inform Zhu in an email that “effectively” immediately, Miss World America was cutting all ties with her, and that the beauty queen must purge all mention of winning Miss Michigan from her social media accounts, “including photographs of you wearing the MWA Michigan sash and/or crown, and any text claiming to be a participant of MWA events.”
Miss World America's State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive.
They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and "insensitive" statistical tweets. pic.twitter.com/K1Btho0Pgq
— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) July 19, 2019
“Offensive, insensitive and inappropriate”
According to the images of the text messages, DeJack was displeased with two of Zhu’s now-deleted tweets, which she deemed “offensive, insensitive and inappropriate.”
In one post, from last February, Zhu took issue with the Muslim Student Organization at the University of Central Florida asking her to wear a hijab on World Hijab Day.
“There is a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus,” said Zhu, who was a freshman at the university at the time. “So you’re telling me that it’s now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?”
The second tweet was a response to another user about crime among black Americans.
“Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community before blaming others,” Zhu said.
“This applies for every community. If there is a problem, fix things in your own community before lashing out at others and trying to find an issue there. That is all I wanted to say. It is not a problem against black people. Obviously I am not racist or stuff like that.”
DeJack has declined to comment on the matter, and Miss World America has not responded to inquiries. The New York Times reported that the organization ruled that Zhu had violated its rules of “good character.”
“The beautiful pro-Trump Kathy Zhu”
Some liberals cheered Miss World America’s decision, suggesting she is a racist despite being non-white.
Someone ask Kathy Zhu how she feels about significantly limiting legal immigration. Should be a fun conversation.
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) July 21, 2019
However, conservatives came to Zhu’s defense. Many on the right have lately noted that their views are increasingly deemed unacceptable as woke culture migrates from college campuses into the workplace, social media and beyond.
Here is the beautiful pro-Trump Kathy Zhu… Miss Michigan who refused to try on a hijab and was stripped of her title – over twitter posts 🙄 pic.twitter.com/7K3wNDfE7I
— ℳεℓ (@mel_faith1) July 20, 2019
Kathy Zhu goes full ‘MAGA’
For her part, Zhu did not take losing her Miss Michigan title with ladylike forbearance. The screen shots she posted show her firing back at Laurie in both text and email.
“Do you know what is ‘insensitive’? What’s ‘insensitive’ is that women in the middle east are getting STONED TO DEATH for refusing to obey their husbands’ orders to wear hijabs,” she apparently said.
“Are the people in MWA implying that they advocate for the punishment of women who refuse to wear the hijab? If this was a catholic rosary that someone forced me to try on and I refused, people would not have even bat an eye.”
The email continued: “I suggest you all fully review what you stand for and what you condemn. Statistics and facts are not always pleasant. It’s disgusting that you would rather lie to the public’s face than be supportive of someone that is trying to make a difference by talking about subjects that no one dares to say.”
Later Friday, Zhu posted a video to Twitter thanking her supporters.
“This is so much bigger than pageantry,” she said. “This is about an organization discriminating against people with different opinions.”
After retweeting a call by President Donald Trump to “Make America Great Again” on Sunday, Zhu touted her appearance on Fox 2 Detroit to discuss her experience.
Over the weekend, Zhu’s Twitter reach has grown 60 percent on the strength of nearly 50,000 new followers, and counting.