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Miss Earth 2018 candidates accuse sponsor Amado S. Cruz of sexual harassment

  • Miss Earth 2018 candidates opened up about the sexual harassment they experienced during their stay in the Philippines.
  • Although they were excited about the pageant, Amado S. Cruz continuously sexually harassed them.
  • Miss Earth Organization has yet to speak up about the said issue.

Miss Earth-Canada Jaime Yvonne Vandenberg, Miss Earth-England Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown and Miss Earth-Guam Emma Mae Sheedy shared their experiences on being sexually harassed by a pageant sponsor named Amado S. Cruz.

They all expressed how excited they were to enjoy the Philippines which was ruined when Amado S. Cruz asked for sexual favors. The three candidates shared their experiences on their own Instagram accounts.

(L-R) Miss Earth-England Abbey Anne Gyles-Brown, Miss Earth-Canada Jaime Yvonne Vandeberg and Miss Earth-Guam Emma Mae Sheedy

Vandeberg leaves competition.

Jaime Yvonne expressed her excitement over competing and the chance to explore the Philippines.

I was so excited because I had been to the Philippines before and loved the country and the people; however, the experience with the pageant was not what I had expected.”

Vandeberg revealed that she left Miss Earth as she no longer felt safe.

I left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care.”

Jaime Yvonne told the story of how her phone number was given away without her consent. Someone started calling her, asking for her hotel and room number. Although she gave her phone to a team manager, it wasn’t resolved.

The man, whom she didn’t name in the post, showed up to all her events. He asked her for sexual favors just to get further in the pageant. Vandeberg ran into him when she was visiting the other girls’ hotel where he continued to ask for her room number.

Jaime Yvonne wasn’t staying at the said hotel but still continued to get strange calls. She later recognized the number and blocked it from her phone. During an event at the Manila Yacht Club, the man took sultry photos of other girls.

Later in the pageant, Vandeberg and the other girls went to an event at the Yacht Club where he told girls he could bring them to the newly-renovated Boracay as long as they wouldn’t tell others. She and other girls went outside as they no longer felt comfortable in his presence.

He followed them outside and expressed his dismay when Jaime Yvonne and the other girls weren’t dancing with him. Instead of resolving the issue, team managers only laughed and asked the girls to be nice. She and the other girls refused to get back to the event and were only allowed to sit inside the bus.

Vandeberg shared that she was able to talk to Lorraine Schuck, the founder and executive vice president of the production that runs the pageant. She, however, had to experience two more weeks of sexual harassment before Carousel Productions addressed her concerns.

Jaime Yvonne shared that she was only told not to put herself in a position where she felt uncomfortable and blamed the harassment on her. She felt like she couldn’t leave the pageant as the organization had taken her passport on their first day. She and some of her friends fought to get her passport back which allowed her to leave the unsafe situation.

View this post on Instagram

I left to compete at an international pageant in the Philippines about a month ago. I was so excited because I had been to the Philippines before and loved the country and the people; however, the experience with the pageant was not what I had expected. I left Miss Earth because I did not feel safe under their care. The second day of the pageant I felt uncomfortable because a sponsor from the first night was given my phone number, without my consent, and was calling me asking for my hotel and room number. I gave my phone to a team manager so that she could resolve the issue, but it did not work. He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favours in exchange to get me further in the pageant. I was disgusted. He showed up to a hotel some girls were staying at and when I ran into him he continued to ask for my room number. I was lucky I wasn’t staying at that hotel. After so many strange calls, I recognized his phone number and was able to block it. At an event at the Manila Yacht Club he took all of the delegates in my group to his yacht and had some girls take sultry photos. Again, I was disgusted. Later in the pageant we had another sponsor event at the Manila Yacht Club and he was telling girls he could take them to Boracay, as long as we didn’t tell any one. A group of us left to sit out side as we did not feel comfortable. He followed us outside and was upset we were not dancing with him. The team mangers laughed and told us to be nice. Eventually we were allowed to go and sit on the bus because we refused to go back to his yacht. Six girls and myself left because we felt unsafe at that event. I asked many times why more girls weren’t given the option to leave but, was never given an answer. That night a few of us were given the opportunity to bring our concerns to Miss Lorraine, the woman in charge of the pageant. I went through almost two weeks of sexual harassment before I anything was done about it. I was told he would not be around any more, but I had advised Lorraine of several other issues that were not resolved. Miss Peachy, another employee of the pageant, spoke with me at an event about…

A post shared by Jaime VandenBerg (@missjaimeyvonne) on

Gyles-Brown attests to harassment.

Abbey-Anne expressed how she worked so hard to get to the top of the pageant. She was elated when she found out that she could represent England in the competition in the Philippines.

I have worked very hard for my title of Miss Earth England and as I have previously mentioned I took 4 years to get to the top and win my place at the Internationals. I was elated to finally represent England over in the beautiful Philippines.”

Gyles-Brown’s trip was marred by the same man who asked for sexual favors in exchange for the Crown. She attested to Vandeberg’s experience at the Manila Yacht Club and being asked for her hotel and room number. She was with Jamie Yvonne when she approached team managers who only laughed at them.

Another official attendee told Abbey-Anne not to cry as she would only ruin her make-up. She felt that the said team managers didn’t care about the trauma they experienced. She added that it wasn’t only her and Vandeberg who experienced the same harassment.

Gyles-Brown approached Schuck who promised the man will be removed from all contact with contestants which didn’t happen. She was one of the girls that sat with Vandeberg inside the bus away from the predatory man. She added that the said sponsor still showed up at a preliminary event and attended the Coronation night.

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My personal encounter @missearth. • It’s time to speak up about my personal experience. I have been in close contact with my national director and all incidents have been noted. I have worked very hard for my title of Miss Earth England and as I have previously mentioned I took 4 years to get to the top and win my place at the Internationals. I was elated to finally represent England over in the beautiful Philippines. My trip was a rollercoaster of emotions, stress and endurance and I did not leave the pageant as I was not going to miss out on the experience. I have many beautiful memories of my time here in the Philippines and many wonderful days. I met happy Filipinos who showed me such kindness and respect. I enjoyed 50% of my trip but the other 50% was over shadowed by feeling exploited, vulnerable, unnerved & sexually harassed as I was approached by a sponsor on many occasions who asked for sexual favours in exchange for the Crown. This happened at Manila Yacht Club on a sponsored evening meal away from the team managers behind closed doors. The sponsor also tried to find out what hotel and room I was staying in. Myself and Canada approached Team Manager to express our disgust only to be laughed at. Another official attendee of the night told me not to cry as I would ruin my makeup! There was no respect or compassion shown to myself or Jaimie. I felt traumatised by this experience and had many sleepless nights. I was not sure who had my personal details including my mob number and hotel room. It was not only myself and Canada who were approached on this night but other delegates who I believe are going to come forward and tell their side of the story. I approached Lorraine Schuck who is the Vice President Of Miss Earth she informed me that the sponsor would be removed from all contact with contestants but this did not happen. As other groups experienced the same issue. Myself and @missjaimeyvonne removed ourselves from this uncomfortable environment and sat on the bus away from further exploitation. This is one of many incidents we faced during our Miss Earth Journey! The said sponsor in fact show up at a prelim event and also attended the Coronation night

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Sheedy names harasser.

Emma expressed how the Philippines is her second home and explained why she wanted to join the pageant.

I was excited to travel back to the Philippines for the 6th time. The hospitality of the Filipinos is not found anywhere else. The Philippines is like a second home to me. I joined the pageant to make a difference and be a role model to those around me.

Sheedy’s perception on pageantry and its sponsors changed because of Amado S. Cruz. He became a problem to delegates, including her. She revealed the she was pulled aside multiple times to be invited to his house in Boracay where she and other women can dance for him.

Emma revealed that Amado S. Cruz grabbed her bare backside during the National Costume Competition. She was able to push him away but was continuously told that she was not allowed to tell anyone about it.

Sheedy also told the story of her experience during the same event at the Manila Yacht Club. She pointed out that many girls felt uncomfortable when Amado S. Cruz announced that they were going to have dinner away from team managers and security personnel. She, along with other candidates like Vandeberg and Gyles-Brown, left but was followed by the same man where he insisted that they should stay inside and dance with him.

Emma pointed out that it took 20 minutes for their team managers to bring them to their bus. She noted that Jaime Yvonne and Abbey-Anne spoke with Lorraine on the phone who didn’t make the girls feel comfortable and safe.

Schuck questions why they aired their issues online.

During a report from CNN Philippines on November 8, Thursday, Lorraine insisted that this was blown out of proportion. She said that the girls didn’t detail their concerns to their team managers.

“Medyo na-blown out of proportion… Naiba. So ewan ko ba kung bakit umabot to sa social media, eh natapos na kami noong October 14 pa. So I really do not understand. So if they’re saying na tuloy-tuloy pa din yung harassment na naramdaman nila, bakit hindi nila sinasabi sa team manager at sa police.”

Amado S. Cruz deactivates Facebook account.

After a backlash from pageant fans and netizens, Amado S. Cruz deactivated his Facebook account.

Miss Earth Organization has yet to speak up about the said issue.


Written by Angela Baltan

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