Pageant winner has title revoked for twerking
© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's

The reigning Miss Papua New Guinea has had her titled revoked following backlash over a video of her twerking, prompting claims of discrimination and misogyny in the Pacific island country. 

The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant Papua New Guinea (MPIP PNG) committee said this week that Lucy Maino would be “released” from her duties as a result of the video. 

“Our core purpose is empowerment of women. We are a unique pageant style platform that promotes cultural heritage, traditional values and sharing through tourism about our country and people,” the committee said, according to The Guardian

ADVERTISEMENT

“MPIP PNG promotes the virtues of confidence, self-worth, integrity, and community service with a parallel focus on education,” the statement added. 

The 25-year-old pageant queen, who has also served as co-captain of Papua New Guinea’s women’s soccer team, shared on TikTok a now-deleted video in which she was twerking. 

The video, which was then downloaded and shared on other social media platforms, prompted backlash from critics, who claimed Maino was not serving as a “role model.”

However, some have risen to Maino's defense.

Allan Bird, the governor of the country’s East Sepik province and co-chair of the Coalition of Parliamentarians against Gender-Based Violence, condemned the online backlash against Maino, writing in a social media post, “What kind of society condemns the torture and killing of women yet get upset when a young woman does a dance video?”

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea also condemned the social media attacks leveled at the pageant queen, writing on Facebook that in 2020, Maino was among a group of youth representatives advocating on behalf of the country to the U.N. Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima and U.N. Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake. 

“The United Nations stands to ensure that the rights of the people are at the forefront of digital safety and protection policies,” the post added. “While constructive criticism and dissenting views are legitimate, bullying is NEVER acceptable in any form: neither digital or in-person.” 

“We see the devastation of violence against women and children in this beautiful country,” the U.N. body continued, noting that “Some through bullying have lost their lives.” 

Maino was crowned Miss Papua New Guinea in 2019, and has continued to hold the title after the coronavirus pandemic prevented the country from holding the 2020 pageant.