Not long after claiming the Miss Universe Thailand 2014 title over the weekend, Weluree Ditsayabut found herself caught in a social-media storm about comments she allegedly posted online months ago.
After being hit by waves of angry criticism, the newly crowned beauty queen yesterday tried to play down her previous comments, insisting that she was not affiliated to any political group.
"It's just that my parents have taught me to love the King," Weluree told a press conference. "I believe all of us here love the King."
She allegedly posted a comment last November in which she lambasted the red shirts, saying: "I am not unbiased. I am on the side of His Majesty the King. I am so angry with these vile [people]."
Apart from her comment spreading like wildfire online, Weluree was also slammed for using rude words in social media. Also, many questioned her beauty-queen status, saying she has a less-than-perfect figure.
The beauty-pageant winner issued a public apology yesterday, saying: "I welcome all comments, which I will use to improve myself."
As Weluree hosts a show on Channel 3 and is also to star in an upcoming television series. Based on this ground, there is widespread speculation that she might have been favoured in this competition. The series she is starring in will go on air on Channel 3 soon.
"The role I've got in the series is very small," she said, dismissing the speculation.
Weluree is not the only contestant at the Miss Universe Thailand 2014 pageant who has run into a storm of criticism. The second runner-up, Sunannipa Krissanasuwan, also drew flak for her online provocative photographs.
"I apologise for disappointing you. I am not perfect, nor am I a flawless beauty. But I'm ready to be a good person," Supannipa said at the same press conference.
ML Phumjai Chumpon, one of the pageant's judges, said there were several judges at the contest and each person had a different opinion.
"But the judges have been able to see the contestants far closer [than the general public] and the winners are those who have scored the highest points given by all the judges," he said.
He said the flak being faced by Weluree had left him with a heavy heart, adding that the pageant's team now planned to maximise her potential and abilities, as she would be representing the Kingdom at the Miss Universe pageant in Brazil beginning in September.