Radio and television personality Stevie Harvey is back in the hot seat again as it pertains to the Miss Universe pageant. Harvey has had many blunders throughout his hosting experiences on television, including his infamous 2015 mishap while hosting Miss Universe. Now, he’s being criticized for what many are considering to be an eyebrow-raising and outlandish request.
We all remember the moment where Steve Harvey mistakenly broke one of the contestant’s hearts at the Miss Universe competition back in 2015. Pia Wurtzbach, who was Miss Philippines was crowned the winner of the pageant, however, the Family Feud host wrongfully named Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutiérrez) as the winner instead of the first runner-up. Both Steve Harvey and the Miss Universe Organization issued respective apologies, calling it “human error” while Harvey explained on his nationally syndicated radio show that there was a discrepancy because the teleprompter and the card he was handed had different information. He would years later speak on the incident on the podcast Comedy Gold Minds with Kevin Hart where he described it as a “painful night.”
During an episode of his daytime talk show in 2016, Steve Harvey dedicated time to Ariadna Gutierrez face-to-face. The emotional sit-down saw Harvey fighting tears as he expressed how deeply sorry he was for his mistake. The two also addressed rumors as to whether or not Gutierrez had planned on suing Harvey for the public embarrassment, which she denied. However, she called the host of the upcoming television show Judge Steve Harvey out for another blunder of his. Harvey had mistakenly referred to her as Ariana instead of Ariadna during the talk show’s taping.
Then again, in 2019 Harvey was back as the host for his fifth consecutive year when, once again, he was accused of fumbling a portion of the event. During the national costume contest segment, Steve Harvey declared Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados as the winner. Standing next to him as he was getting ready to introduce a segment was Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon. She was soon seen reaching for the microphone to correct Harvey, saying, “It’s not Philippines, it’s Malaysia.” Steve Harvey’s explanation right there was that the teleprompter read that the winner was Miss Phillippines. A tweet from the official Miss Universe Twitter account confirmed that Harvey was indeed correct and that Miss Phillippines was the winner of the contest.
On December 12, the Miss Universe 2021 pageant occurred at the Universal Dome in Israel. With Mario Lopez and Olivia Culpo serving as the hosts of the 2020 competition, Steve Harvey was once again asked to return for this year’s hosting duties. The show went seemingly without a hitch, but many viewers found fault with one occurrence.
Before crowning Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu as the competition’s winner, Harvey had an interesting request for the 21-year-old. In past pageants, many contestants were given the opportunity to showcase various talents. Steve Harvey claimed to have been alerted of one of Sandhu’s talents, which was that she’s good at making animal noises. While on stage, Harvey requested for Sandhu to give an example of one of her best animal impersonations. Sandhu then expressed her surprise for being asked that question but proceeded to “meow” like a cat.
The moment definitely became extremely talked about in the media and on social media. Harvey faced backlash from many social media users who expressed their disdain for his hosting capabilities. “It’s safe to say the [pageant] needs a new host. Steve Harvey asked Miss India to do an animal impression while other Miss Universe contestants got to speak about their accomplishments,” one social media user wrote. Another user stated that Steve Harvey obviously “did not like #MissUniverse2021” while claiming, “I don’t think he’s a fan of #Indians.”
But for Sandhu, the winner of Miss Universe 2021 did not find fault in Steve Harvey’s questioning. In his defense, she said to Insider that they were “just having fun” and that she ultimately just “wanted to make everyone laugh.” Sandhu labeled Harvey as a “great human being” and said that it was easy to be yourself while standing next to someone like him. “And I was just having fun and enjoying myself,” she said. “This is my time to shine and my time to showcase one of my great talents, and why not? We’re all here to embrace ourselves,” Sandhu added.