Republican candidate ‘said she’d rather give a baby to child abusers than a same-sex couple’
A Republican candidate allegedly said she would prefer to hand over a child to known child abusers than a loving gay couple.
Erika Harold, a former Miss America winner who is running for Illinois Attorney General, made the comments in 2000, according to NBC 5.
Behind the scenes at a Miss Illinois pageant, Harold was asked by judges about how she would act were she, like her mother, a social worker who chose foster homes for kids.
The 19-year-old contestant was asked: If she had to place a child in foster care and had to choose between a loving gay couple or a heterosexual couple who were known child abusers, which would she chose?
Three sources who were each either judges or pageant officials told NBC 5 that Harold chose the child abusers.
One of the officials said: “I remember it because it was so shocking.
“She took some time to answer it. And that drew people in. It stopped the room.”
They continued: “It said a lot about her, she spoke about reading the Bible daily and said her beliefs could not subject a child to the gay lifestyle.”
Another official said: “I remember it like it was yesterday. It was shocking.”
They added that “even at a young age, it was clear she was smart,” also recalling that “she stopped and had to think about it.”
Harold has made a point in her political adverts that she is a Harvard Law School graduate.
The candidate has now rejected these views, according to her campaign, who called the incident “an alleged event that supposedly occurred nearly two decades ago when Erika was 20-years-old.
“Erika does not recall the alleged exchange, but Erika certainly support[s] same-sex adoption and foster care placement,” they added.
A pageant official said: “I find it literally impossible she does not remember, because it cost her the pageant, she did not even make the top 10 that year.
“There’s no way she does not remember.”
One of the officials said that in general, Harold stood out that year because she showed “at 19-years-old, incredible intelligence.”
She was even handed an award for her ability to answer questions skillfully, according to NBC 5.
Two years later, she won the Miss Illinois pageant, before taking the Miss America title the year after.
Miss Illinois Scholarship Organisation’s executive director, Ashley Hatfield, called Harold “outstanding” in a statement.
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“It is troubling that people claiming to be former pageant officials are anonymously attacking former contestants,” she said.
“No one associated with the Miss Illinois Organisation is making these claims, and it is not representative of the organisation.
“All current and future contestants should compete without the fear of being anonymously attacked by pageant officials.
“Erika was an outstanding Miss Illinois and Miss America, and we are proud of her work with our organisation.”