A handful of people in Richmond, Virginia are calling on the Miss Universe Organization to speak out against current Miss Virginia Nikki Poteet, after the 24-year-old crown bearer allegedly directed homophobic slurs towards her gay roommate at a party on Saturday, October 29th. In a letter directed to the organization, Derek Powell — Poteet’s roommate since January 2011 — claims Poteet became “extremely violent and physical and proceeded to call me and my boyfriend ‘faggots’ and ‘cocksuckers'” at around 2 a.m. at their group house in Richmond, Virginia. Poteet denied the allegations during a phone conversation with ThinkProgress, but admitted to some sort of altercation. “One of his friends proceeded to say things that didn’t need to be said,” she said.
Powell told ThinkProgress that Poteet was “extremely intoxicated” that night and seemed upset that she did not have the full house to herself. She responded by lashing out at Powell, his boyfriend Chris, and their friends, swinging her shoes at the group, pushing people, and claiming that her male companion would “beat” their ass. Poteet kneed another person, ripped the door off of a family heirloom, and “downgraded people based on their physical appearance and economic status,” Powell explains in his letter. The police were called, but it’s unclear if an official incident report was ever filed. ThinkProgress spoke with two other attendees who confirmed Poteet’s behavior and use of anti-gay slurs.
“It’s the first I’ve ever been subjected to hateful words and things like that based on people’s sexuality. It just got me infuriated. Someone like her, who is supposed to be a role model for young girls to say things like that,” Powell told ThinkProgress. “People need to be held accountable for their words and their actions.”
But Poteet repeatedly denied any wrongdoing during a phone interview and insisted that Powell just “wants to raise attention.” She said she likes gay people and knew that Powell was gay when she first moved in with him. “The guy that’s in my pageant office is gay and he’s my best friend in the world, I talk to him every day,” she added. Poteet also said she did not break a door and claimed that “anyone can take a picture of a broken door.” But once confronted with information that ThinkProgress had obtained a text message between Poteet and Powell — in which the former admits to damaging the heirloom — Poteet abruptly ended the conversation.
See pictures of the door and the text message:
“I have never been on the receiving end of a hate crime in my entire life and felt completely demoralized,” Powell says in his letter. “Her comments have outraged and insulted the gay people of Richmond and the community is upset that someone like her would represent the Commonwealth of Virginia. Many young girls look up to your organization and look at these title holders as role models. This is not the kind of person that you want representing your honorable organization.”
The Miss Universe organization has yet to respond to Powell’s allegations.