Granada town rallies round beauty queen after racist criticism from Vox

The far-right party slammed the 16-year-old for being “a young Moroccan girl,” adding that the winner at the local fiestas should have been “Spanish and better looking”

The “queen” of the Otura fiestas (c) with her sister Kauty and mother Khady.
The “queen” of the Otura fiestas (c) with her sister Kauty and mother Khady.FERMÍN RODRÍGUEZ
Javier Arroyo

The far-right political party Vox was not happy about the recent choice of the youth beauty queen at the local fiestas in the municipality of Otura, in Spain’s southern province of Granada. According to a post on Vox Otura’s Facebook page, the group objected to the fact that the winner was “a young Moroccan girl,” who had only been “living in Otura for two years.” The post said that the winner should have been “from Otura, Spanish and better looking.”

Not only was the original post xenophobic, but it was also untrue

Not only was the original post xenophobic, but it was also untrue: the 16-year-old in question is Spanish, has lived in the country her whole life, and has been a resident of Otura for the last four years.

Many Spanish cities run a competition to choose the reina de las fiestas, or “queen of the fiestas,” to coincide with the yearly local festivities. The event is a kind of beauty pageant, where the winner is crowned. The queen holds her title for a year, until the next fiestas, and represents her city, town or village at public events.

The Otura queen, who has opted not to give her name, lets her older sister Kauty explain the situation. On Tuesday night, in a quiet moment, Kauty asked her sister how she was feeling. “I don’t want to be the queen of the fiestas anymore,” she replied.

VOX lamenta el mensaje publicado en esta red social sobre la elección de la Reina de las Fiestas de Otura. Lamentamos...

Posted by VOX Otura on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

“Vox regrets the message published on this social network about the choice of the Queen of the Otura Fiestas. We regret the damage caused to the family of the young Spaniard. When the Vox communication department was made aware of the publication, the message was removed and an investigation was opened in order to clarify the facts.”

“I’ve lived in Spain since I was born,” explains the young beauty queen, complaining about the comments without fully understanding them. The next scheduled event at which she will appear is at Christmas, and her family is convinced that, in spite of everything, she will forget what has happened and will attend.

The youngster was among a group of six candidates who entered the contest on August 5, her sister explains. She went having been encouraged to do so by her friends, some of whom were her competitors. “There was also a Russian girl, but nobody said anything about her,” Kauty explains. No one objected to the choice of queen at the time and the fiestas ran smoothly. On September 4 the coronation ceremony took place. “She was so happy with the party and with everything. It makes me so sad,” says Khady, the girl’s mother. “But there’s good and bad the world over,” she adds. The controversy has clearly been an unexpected shock for the family.

The xenophobic statement was posted on September 10 and left up for a week after publication, until the controversy broke out. Comments were posted below it, some in favor of Vox’s statement and some against.

Three reports about the post have already been filed with the Civil Guard. One came from Kauty and her mother, another from her aunt and uncle, and a third from the local council, which is run by the Socialist Party (PSOE) and where Vox counts on one councilor. The Granada public prosecutor is also investigating whether the comment constitutes a hate crime or an offense against moral integrity.

There was also a Russian girl, but nobody said anything about her

The beauty queen’s sister, Kauty

Vox deleted the publication and the comments with it, and posted a new statement saying that it “regretted the message” and “the harm done to the family of the young Spanish woman.” This newspaper has tried, unsuccessfully, to contact Vox in Otura to hear their side of the story and to find out if they maintain the belief that no Moroccan or foreign person can be crowned queen of a fiesta. The new comment from the extreme right-wing party insists that “neither the content or the form corresponds to the political line and ideologies of Vox,” and it adds that the incident is being investigated by the Civil Guard. According to Kauty, beyond the apology on social media “no one from Vox has approached us or contacted us to apologize.”

Luckily, after stormy weather the sun always shines. Several days have now passed and the horizon seems clearer. “I’m better now,” the young woman says with half a smile. “My friends are calling me, as are people in the town. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to everyone,” she concludes. Her reign will last a year. The town still has plenty of opportunities to show her its affections.

English version by Alicia Kember.

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