Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz says she's received death threats and hateful messages since being crowned

miss usa savannah gankiewicz says she's received death threats and hateful messages since being crowned

Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz said she has received death threats and hateful messages since taking the crown in the wake of Noelia Voigt's shocking resignation and allegations against the pageant's CEO.

Gankiewicz, 28, said in a speech that the backlash she's received "breaks my heart."

"Since I've gotten this title I've dealt with a lot of bullying and harassment and it really does, it breaks my heart," an emotional Gankiewicz said in a video shared on X last week.

"Sorry. I didn’t want to cry but I just feel like it’s hard because I wish people saw where my heart is coming from," she said as she wiped away tears. "And it’s helping Lahaina and helping Maui residents and having a platform but also showing young women that you can get bullied and you can hurt but you stand back up and you keep going and you keep using your voice."

Gankiewicz was crowned Miss USA 2023 in a special coronation and celebration in Waikiki earlier this month, replacing former Miss USA Noelia Voigt after she announced her resignation on May 6.

Voigt, 24, said in an Instagram statement that she was relinquishing the title to focus on her mental health, but days later NBC News obtained a copy of Voigt’s resignation letter in which she accused the pageant's CEO of creating a toxic work environment and failing to address a sexual harassment incident she raised.

"There is a toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment,” Voigt wrote. “This started soon after winning the title of Miss USA 2023."

Voigt accused Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose of consistently failing to communicate, bad-mouthing her to others in the organization, and threatening to take away Voigt’s salary "for things that were never discussed with me."

The letter also alleged that after Voigt told Rose about a man making inappropriate comments to her at an event in Florida, Rose said, "We cannot prevent people saying things to you at public appearances, it is, unfortunately, part of the role you’re in as a public figure."

Rose released a statement saying, in part, that she takes allegations seriously and that "the well-being of all individuals associated with Miss USA is my top priority."

Following Voigt's resignation, Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, stepped down as well as Miss USA’s social media manager Claudia Michelle.

After Gankiewicz accepted the crown, she told Hawaii News Now that she empathized with the former titleholders and believed "this was the right decision for my community and for my state."

Gankiewicz will hold the title until August when a new Miss USA is crowned at the next pageant.

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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