The reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie has given up her crown after she was arrested for her involvement in the controversy during the recent Mrs Sri Lanka 2020 beauty pageant.
In a video that has gone viral, she is seen snatching the crown off the head of Pushpika De Silva, who had been named the winner of the competition at Colombo's Nelum Pokuna theatre last Sunday.
Jurie claimed that De Silva was ineligible for the prize as she was divorced, and that the rules stipulate that all contestants must be married. However, while De Silva is estranged from her husband, the pair are still legally married.
Jurie’s surprise announcement sparked unruly scenes minutes after the chief guest, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's wife Shiranthi, had left the theatre.
In a post to Facebook, De Silva said she needed treatment at a hospital after the incident, seen by stunned spectators in a packed venue as well as a live social media audience.
On Thursday, Jurie was arrested and released on bail in relation to the incident. In a video posted to Instagram, she explained her decision to step away from the pageant, claiming it had been “tainted” by the crowning ceremony.
"I will always stand for what I believe is right," the former title-holder said in a video while wearing her crown and sash. "Every beauty pageant has a set of rules and regulations. What I was pushing for from the beginning was a fair stage. The rules and regulations are equal to all. Rules aren't there so that we can find loopholes so that we can win at any cost. I believe rules and regulations are there for a reason."
She continued, "The Mrs World pageant was not created to discriminate divorced or separated women but to celebrate the dreams of the married women." Jurie also implied that there were other pageants De Silva could have applied to as a separated woman.
"I know I burst a few bubbles, created conversation and even a discussion about class and values that a queen wearing a crown should stand for," Jurie said.
The former Mrs World stressed the importance of standing up for "values even if it means to stand alone in the front of disaster."
"My only intention was to stand up for the injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which was tainted with heavy politicisation," she said.
At the end of the clip, Jurie said, "I am now ready to hand over the crown," before removing the crown from her head.
She is expected to appear in court on Monday, April 19, according to the Associated Press.
Additional reporting by AFP