| Miss World contestants Chinenye Ochuba of Nigeria (left) and Daniella Luan of England in London. (AFP)
London, Nov. 25 (Reuters): Enraged feminists today called for the cancellation of the troubled Miss World contest and said that if the pageant went ahead, the contestants “will be wearing swimwear dripping with blood.”
After plans to stage the show in Nigeria sparked Christian-Muslim riots that killed at least 175 people, the organisers moved it to Britain but flew into a storm of protest at home too.
They could also have trouble finding a major venue for the pageant on the planned date of December 7 — the Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court in London are already booked.
Oscar-winning actress turned parliamentarian Glenda Jackson led the calls for the contest to be halted: “The best thing to do after such fratricide and blood-letting is to cancel the whole competition,” she said.
Australian feminist Germaine Greer said the prospect of staging the contest in London was “horrifying” while writer Muriel Gray said: “These girls will be wearing swimwear dripping with blood.”
Novelist Kathy Lette said the ill-fated contest was “like a cargo of nuclear waste shunned by all.” The Abuja government had thrown its weight behind the Miss World pageant, hoping to show Nigeria in a good light and boost tourism in a country almost totally dependent on oil exports for its foreign earnings.
But the plan misfired. Rioting broke out last week in the mainly Muslim city of Kaduna after a newspaper enraged Muslims by saying the Prophet Mohammad would probably have married a Miss World contestant. The contestants were wreathed in relieved smiles when they flew into London yesterday with Miss USA, Rebekah Revels, telling reporters: “I feel wonderful to be here.”
Organiser Julia Morley, determined to go ahead with the contest, said: “I am used to getting the odd kick — it won't put me down.”
Willie Hendry, one of two hairdressers on the flight, said: “I am so pleased to be back in Britain, and that’s the general feeling among all of us.”