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Steve Harvey knows just how to make a crowd laugh — or cringe.
While hosting the annual Miss Universe pageant Sunday in Atlanta, the actor and comedian made a few jokes about Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and even mixed up two Asian countries, although the pageant took the blame. Viewers (and some of the contestants) were not amused.
After Harvey’s TV disaster in 2015 when he crowned Miss Colombia instead of the actual winner, Miss Philippines, he has continued to joke about the incident every year.
“Colombia’s gotten over that. They’ve forgiven me. Well, not all of them. The cartel’s still tripping a little bit,” Harvey said during his first remarks Sunday. But he didn’t leave it at that and sprinkled more cartel comments throughout the night.
But Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur shot back when she was announced as part of the top 20. “Are you sure you read correctly? Should I go back? Tell me what to do!” she asked Harvey, poking fun at his past mistake. “You’re forgiven, don’t worry,” she told him.
Harvey responded: “You’ve forgiven me. The cartel has not. They’re not handling it the same way.”
The crowd reportedly remained silent, but Twitter users didn’t, including Miss Colombia herself. In her first tweet following the pageant, Tafur wrote “Cartel jokes are not funny,” and she tagged Harvey.
Colombia wasn't the only country the entertainer joked about. After shouting “Mexico,” he mumbled, “That can get you killed.”
“You just wouldn’t go let Puerto Rico outdo you, huh? It’s all the same, it’s all part of the same thing,” Harvey said, failing to acknowledge that, if it actually was, Puerto Rico wouldn’t have a contestant in the pageant.
Harvey also confused Malaysia and the Philippines when announcing the winner of the national costume competition, where contestants display a costume that best represents their country’s culture — although some people speculated the mistake was for ratings.
The Miss Universe Organization confirmed on Twitter that Harvey’s initial announcement was correct, and the winner was Miss Philippines and not Miss Malaysia.
Ultimately, Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was crowned as the new Miss Universe 2019. She’s the sixth black woman to be named Miss Universe since the first, Janelle Commissiong, in 1976.
For the first time in history, the reigning Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA are all black women.
Cover image: Kezia Warouw of Indonesia prepares to answer a question from host Steve Harvey after making it to the top 13 in the Miss Universe 2016 competition Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)