AceShowbiz - R'Bonney Gabriel has responded to allegations suggesting her win at the Miss USA 2022 was "rigged." When denying the accusations in an interview with E! News' "The Rundown", Gabriel declared, "I have a lot of integrity."
"I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I know I would win," the 28-year-old Texas native said in the Thursday, October 6 episode of the show. "I have a lot of integrity."
Gabriel won the title over the weekend, making her become the first Filipino-American woman to take the crown. She is also the first-ever Asian-American woman to have been named Miss Texas USA.
However, Gabriel's fellow competitors assumed that she won unfairly. Miss Montana Heather Lee O'Keefe claimed that "most of the Miss USA contestants feel very strongly that there was favoritism towards Miss Texas USA and we have the receipts to prove it."
Fueling the rumors, many Miss USA 2022 contestants left the stage without congratulating Gabriel when she won. Shortly after the walk-off went viral, Miss New York Heather Nunez claimed on Instagram Stories that she felt "humiliated" in believing that she had "a fair chance."
Miss Alabama Katelyn Vinson, in the meantime, wrote, "It's crushing and heartbreaking to have worked so hard towards a goal only to realize you never stood a chance."
Now in the interview with "The Rundown", Gabriel said she has yet to speak to O'Keefe about her claims, but she's "open to talking to her about it." She said, "I would love to communicate with her because I think there's a lot of allegations that are coming up that aren't true."
"And people are leading to conclusions that just simply aren't true," the fashion designer added. "I want to be transparent, and I want everybody to know that there was no unfair advantage and nothing was rigged."
In an Instagram Live video on Oct. 5, Heather explained that the walk-off was not planned and that she and her fellow contestants "are not coming out against R'Bonney" in voicing their pageant experience.
"We want to make it very clear that we are not in any way attacking R'Bonney as a person," she said, adding later in the hour-long video, "Nothing against the girl who won Miss USA. We have no hard feelings against her. It is not her fault. These are our issues that we are bringing up with the organization as a whole."