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Samantha Katie James

Ex-Miss Universe Malaysia causes anger with her racist protest remarks

TextAlex Peters

Samantha Katie James told ‘foolish’ Black people to ‘relax’ amidst Black Lives Matter protests

In less than 24 hours, over 100,000 people have signed a petition demanding that a former Miss Universe Malaysia contestant be stripped of her title after she made racist remarks about the Black Lives Matter protests in the US.

Samantha Katie James was the Malaysian representative in the Miss Universe 2017 pageant. On Monday she posted several stories to her Instagram account calling protestors angry about the killing of George Floyd “foolish people.”

“I don’t live in America, it has nothing to do with me, but to me, it seems like the ‘whites’ won. Because if you’re angry, you respond in rage and anguish. That means it has power over you,” she said. “To the black people,” she continued, “Relax, take it as a challenge, makes you stronger.”

“You chose to be born as a ‘coloured’ person in America for a reason. To learn a certain lesson. Accept it as it is, till now hunger and poverty exists. It is what it is…Best you can do is remain calm…That’s your responsibility.”

When asked by a follower what she meant by “chose to be born ‘coloured’” James replied: “Like our souls. Chose this life, this country, this race, this human form, specifically… I always wonder why I’m born in Malaysia, as a white girl, with Chinese mom and Indian grandparents and Brazilian dad. But I chose this all for a reason, as a soul.”

In response to another follower upset about her comments she wrote, “ case you didn’t know, I was insulted all my life for being a white Girl in local Malaysian I speak from first hand experience, not from what I read online.”

The comments were met with anger and a petition was started to strip James of her title and crown by Marcus Gan and Yee Heng Zeh who said James was unfit to represent Malaysia on the global stage. “She misused her platform and social media presence to voice out her blatantly racist and ignorant remarks,” the petition reads. “For someone who is so blatantly ignorant should not represent Malaysia in any capacity.” As of writing, the petition has over 105,000 signatures. 

A local make-up brand Velvet Vanity has also cut ties with James, releasing a statement denouncing her remarks. “The whole team of Velvet Vanity would like to clarify that we don’t endorse this kind of discriminatory behaviour,” it reads. “Any posts featuring Miss Samantha Kathy was made way before this case and we are not affiliated with her anymore. As a brand, we support #blacklivesmatter and we would never associate ourselves with racist behaviours in any way.” 

After the original comments were made, a video of James from 2017 began circulating which shows shouting racist remarks while reportedly at a pageant in South Africa. “This is why you are underground. Sorry baby. You’ll never gonna be up there. Malaysia is better than this fucking country. Way better. We are way more developed okay,” she can be heard saying before getting physical. 

In response to the backlash, James issued a non-apology apology in which she claims she was misunderstood.

“I do hear you, I’m sorry. I know you’re hurting. I know it’s unfair. I’m not in your shoes to understand this fully,” she wrote. “I understand a lot of people have shared that I could have phrased my content different, and I accept that I am responsible for my words.”

“If I had been more attentive in how I wrote it, the message would off been understood as a heartfelt message to all victims of racism be it any colour.” (sic)

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