The reigning Miss Universe could face jail time and a fine for using the world heritage site as a backdrop.
Following a complaint filed by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) with police that could land reigning Miss Universe Olivia Culpo in jail, the Miss Universe organization has formally apologized for a photo shoot in front of India's Taj Mahal that took place over the past weekend. The 21-year-old titleholder was photographed wearing a pair of red high-heeled shoes purportedly from a footwear company who sponsors the beauty pageant.
"The Miss Universe Organization would like to extend its deepest apologies to the people of India for the incident...which occurred this past Sunday," read out the official statement. "The filming that took place outside the Taj Mahal was never intended to be used as a commercial nor was it meant in any way to be disrespectful. We sincerely apologize for any unintentional harm our indiscretion and insensitivity may have caused."
According to Miss Universe officials, the organization puts together a video diary of the titleholder's travels to share with fans, and in the process, the videos may sometimes incorporate sponsors in the photo shoots. In the case of the recent Taj Mahal photo shoot, India's Supreme Court prohibits any commercial activity at the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Authorities claim that Culpo and the rest of the crew that took the photos last October 6 violated India's Heritage Act, and they could all face two years in jail and a fine of 100,000 rupees or $1,600 if found guilty.