ThinkProgress

Miss Michigan dethroned over racist, Islamophobic tweets

Kathy Zhu. CREDIT: Twitter

Kathy Zhu was stripped of her title as Miss Michigan on Thursday after the organization found Twitter posts that were racist and Islamaphobic.

“It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America (MWA) that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content,” MWA State Director Laurie DeJack wrote in an email to Zhu, which the former pageant winner posted on Twitter.

In one of the now-deleted tweets in question stems from an incident in February 2018, when Zhu was a freshman at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Zhu reportedly sprinted away from a Muslim Student Associate table on campus after a fellow student offered her a chance to try on a hijab, a head covering many Muslim women wear, as part of a World Hijab Day celebration.

“There is a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus,” Zhu, who is Chinese-American, wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “So you’re telling me that it’s now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?”

In a separate tweet, Zhu criticized a sign at the Muslim Student Association table that said “My hijab empowers me.”

“The hypocrisy of this is kind of disgusting,” Zhu reportedly tweeted at the time.

The second tweet came in reply to another Twitter user.

“Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Zhu wrote, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Fix problems within your own community before blaming others.”

Zhu, 20, is vice president of the University of Michigan chapter of the College Republicans and communications director for the Chinese Americans for Trump Movement. She has been vocal about conservative politics on her Twitter account, @politicalkathy.

Zhu fired back at pageant officials in an email reply to DeJack on Thursday.

“Do you know what is ‘insensitive’?” Zhu wrote. “What’s insensitive is that women in the Middle East are getting STONED TO DEATH for refusing to obey their husband’s [sic] orders to wear hijabs.”

“It is disgusting how you would rather lie to the public’s face than be supportive of someone that is trying to make a difference by talking about subjects that no one dares to say,” Zhu added.

In the days since, Zhu has doubled down on Twitter, where several prominent conservative commentators have rallied to her side.

“I’m sick of seeing this from the pageant world,” tweeted Antonia Okafor, who runs the women’s gun rights group EmPOWERed. “The thing is there are a lot of conservatives in the pageant world but many don’t speak up in fear of this exact scenario.”

“This is insane,” conservative activist and musician Joy Villa tweeted.

“Yet another example of #Magaphobia,” wrote Jack Posobiec.

The incident comes the week after Trump held a summit at The White House to discuss allegations that social media companies intentionally silence conservative voices that was packed with online trolls and conspiracy theorists.

It also comes as the president continues a racist broadside, online and off, against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia who is Muslim and wears hijab.

“Send her back!” Trump supporters chanted of Omar during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday — echoing the president’s own words as he paused his speech for several moments to let them finish.

“Those are incredible people, those are incredible patriots,” Trump later said of the crowd.

As for Zhu, she’s not backing down on her tweets or her support for Trump.

“I am so sorry that you think facts and statistics are racist,” she tweeted Saturday.