Miss Michigan Stripped of Title for Refusing To Wear Hijab, Conservative Views, and “Insensitive” Tweets
Kathy Zhu, known as “Political Kathy” on Twitter, was stripped of her title of Miss Michigan. The 20-year-old University of Michigan student tweeted Thursday evening about the ordeal.
Zhu wrote, “Miss World America’s State/National/Chief Director accused me of being racist, Islamaphobic, and insensitive. They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and ‘insensitive’ statistical tweets.”
My message while as Miss Michigan is to advocate for speaking your truth— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) July 17, 2019
Especially in today’s political climate, we r quick to attack each other based on perceptions & stereotypes
It’s time we take a step back & realize that our diversity of thought is what makes America strong
Zhu posted the emails she received from Miss World America’s Director, Laurie DeJack.
These are the text message exchanges between the state director and me. pic.twitter.com/HtHS1gns6X— Kathy Zhu (@PoliticalKathy) July 19, 2019
Laurie DeJack, Miss World America Michigan state director, emailed Zhu, stating:
“It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content, and in violation of MWA’s Rules and Conditions, specifically the contestant requirement of ‘being of good character and whose background is not likely to bring into disrepute Miss World America or any person associated with the organisation. Therefore, and effective immediately, MWA does not recognise you as a participant of any sort or in any capacity as it relates to any and all events of MWA. Furthermore, let this communication serve as official notice to remove any mention of yourself as a participant in MWA from all social media platforms (including photographs of you wearing the MWA Michigan sash and/or crown, and any text claiming to be a participant of MWA events).”
One of the Zhu’s tweets that was questioned read: “Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others.”
Zhu, who was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. when she was five years old, got into some controversy in 2018, while attending the University of Central Florida.
In February 2018, the Muslim Student Association held a “Try a Hijab” event for World Hijab Day on campus at UCF. The event was created to “foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women to experience the hijab for one day.” As Zhu walked by the booth, she was asked to try on a hijab. She quickly declined, but took photos and posted them to Twitter voicing her opinion of the booth.
Zhu tweeted, “There’s a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus. 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?”
Her tweets quickly got the attention of Rayyan Sukkarieh, who replied to Zhu on Twitter, saying that she had offered Zhu a hijab but that Zhu declined. Sukkarieh then criticized Zhu for not asking any questions or trying to understand what a hijab is, calling Zhu’s actions “ignorant.”
TWITTER DO YOUR THING— ريان (@lebaneseknafa) February 1, 2018
Let’s get this girl expelled. Email [email protected] (UCF OFFICE OF STUDENT CONDUCT) and send them Kathy’s tweet, including the photos in her thread. Ignorance will not be tolerated on my campus.
KATHY should be EXPELLED b/c she is putting Muslim students, especially those wearing hijab, in danger with her tweets. She’s illiciting violence and is a danger to those on campus that are easily identifiable as Muslim. She goes against UCF’s values of integrity and community. https://t.co/oBunaHLffo— ريان (@lebaneseknafa) February 1, 2018
Sukkarieh requested her Twitter followers to email UCF to demand for Zhu’s expulsion from the university, claiming Zhu was “putting Muslim students in danger with her tweets” and “illiciting violence and is a danger to those on campus that are easily identifiable as Muslim.”
Zhu replied to Sukkarieh’s tweets:
“1) UCF is a public campus, meaning I can take pictures of anything, especially a public RSO group. 2) I took three pictures, you asked me if I want to wear this scarf of oppression, I politely declined, said thank you, and headed to class. 3) trying to get me expelled for what? “
UCF issued their statement on February 2,2018, after being flooded with complaints:
“The University of Central Florida has received a number of emailed complaints suggesting that disciplinary action be taken against students involved in a disagreement being played out via social media. Upon review, neither student’s actions as reported to the university violate our Rules of Conduct.”
Zhu is currently a vice chair of the Republican student group. She also volunteered for Chinese-Americans for Trump in 2016 during the presidential campaign.
In 2016, Kathy was a very active volunteer for Chinese-Americans for Trump and spent hours going door-to-door during the election pic.twitter.com/Z5MR7CR79M— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 19, 2019