On Tuesday, ThinkProgress reported on a letter-writing campaign by several Virginia residents to pressure the Miss Universe organization to condemn the homophobic remarks of Miss Virginia Nikki Poteet, who allegedly referred to a gay couple as “faggots” and “cocksuckers” during a party on Oct. 29. Yesterday, one of the individuals involved in the incident — Chris Cayton — received a response from the Miss Virginia USA pageant, deriding the story as hearsay that “should never have been published.” Below are some excerpts from the correspondence obtained by ThinkProgress:
MISS VIRGINIA PAGEANT: “We take those accusations seriously and have looked into this. Sadly, the claims are here say and unsubstantiated and therefore the article should never have been published. Nikki has been a terrific titleholder and has made many appearances across the state and beyond during her year of service. We have only received praise and good press from many people and organizations, as she has worked diligently as Miss Virginia USA 2011 and we will miss her greatly.”
CAYTON: “I was there to witness her actions Saturday night and was one of the ones she actually put her hands on and called a ‘faggot’. The text message in the article is from her cell phone number and she has yet to apologize for any wrong doing.”
MISS VIRGINIA PAGEANT: “I have heard Nikki’s side and I read your message. I imagine those that agree with you are your friends and it is a your group against Nikki and Aaron. So, since I was not present, I cannot make a judgment. I do not agree with slurs or violence and we of course take such accusations seriously. I am gay and I love Nikki and I firmly believe she is not homophobic. I am aware that she has not gotten along with her roommates for many months, so I question the motives of whoever sent the story to be published. It appears rather vindictive and serves no good purpose.
Read our full report here.
Poteet issued astatement denying everything to WTVR, the local CBS affiliate:
It is unfortunate that, during my last days as Miss Virginia USA, individuals would make these accusations against me, as I currently, and will continue to, show respect and support for diversity throughout the Commonwealth.
Those that know me will agree that these accusations are inconsistent with my character and the reputation that I have built thus far, not only as Miss Virginia USA, but as an educated, hard-working, independent woman.