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Scoop: Colombians outraged over Miss Universe gaffe

Colombians celebrated for about two minutes what appeared to be an unprecedented feat for the beauty pageant-obsessed South American nation: back-to-back Miss Universe titles.

From President Juan Manuel Santos to Miss Colombia’s relatives in the port city of Barranquilla, millions who tuned in for Sunday’s pageant screamed joyously when it was announced that Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo won the crown.

But the celebrating turned to shouts of fraud as host Steve Harvey announced on live TV from Las Vegas he had mistakenly read from the cue card and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach from the Philippines was the new Miss Universe.

“They took away her crown,” and “the shortest reign in history” was the sentiment expressed on Twitter, where the hashtag “Respect the Crown” was the top trending topic.

“The entire country, and our family, was overcome with emotion,” Alvaro Arevalo, the Colombian runner-up’s cousin, told Blu Radio on Monday. “The truth is we’re a little shocked.”

The reversal even caught by the president by surprise, forcing him to reverse his first celebratory tweet.

“They put the crown on her head. The photos are there to prove it. To me, as a Colombian, she is still Miss Universe,” Santos told Radio Nacional.

In Colombia, pageants are a major draw across social classes. But unlike neighboring Venezuela, which has won seven Miss Universe titles, Colombians are accustomed to falling short of the crown, with five runner-up appearances since 1992. Before last year’s crowning of Paulina Vega, only one Colombian won the Miss Universe title, in 1958.

In her initial remarks, Sofia Vergara-lookalike Gutierrez, wiping back a tear, said, “Everything happens for a reason.”

COSBY SUES

Bill Cosby is suing supermodel Beverly Johnson for defamation, calling her a liar over her claims that the comedian drugged and attempted to sexually assault her in the 1980s.

Cosby’s lawsuit contends Johnson has been using the story to try to rekindle her career.

Johnson’s “false allegations against Mr. Cosby have been the centerpiece of her attempted resurgence and she has played them to the hilt, repeatedly and maliciously publishing the false accusations in articles, interviews, and television appearances,” the suit states.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction preventing the model from repeating claims that the comedian drugged her with a cappuccino in his New York home.


QUICK TAKES

Eric Welch, a 43-year-old former Marine from Canandaigua, N.Y., legally changed his name to Darth Vader … Real estate website Trulia found San Francisco to be the No. 1 city for partying hard on New Year’s Eve and the top city for hangovers, based on data about nightlife establishments, bars, breweries, comfort food, restaurants and drugstores per 10,000 households.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer Meghan Trainor is 22. … Singer Jordin Sparks (“American Idol”) is 26. …Oakland Raider Menelik Watson is 27. … Actor Ralph Fiennes is 53. … Former TV anchor Diane Sawyer is 70.

— Associated Press

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

Examiner Staff

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