Miss Lebanon, who faced criticism at home for appearing in a photo with Miss Israel this week, claimed Friday that the Jewish beauty queen chased her around for days in an attempt to pose for a joint “selfie.”
Lebanese national Sally Greige was to be investigated for appearing in a photo with Israeli representative to the Miss World beauty pageant, Doron Matalon, who uploaded the image to her Instagram account. Greige later defended herself, accusing Matalon of forcing her way into the photo at the last minute, and without her consent.
Greige’s agent on Friday said her client had to repeatedly “run away” from Matalon, who was “desperate,” according to the Daily Mail.
“Miss Israel was trying from the beginning to reach Sally and to have a ‘selfie’ with her during the 20 days they stayed there,” Richard Pharaon said.
“They were both sitting together once at the Marriott Hotel and Miss Israel came and asked Sally to have a selfie with her. Sally refused, of course, since she’s perfectly aware of the conflict with Israel, and the whole situation in Lebanon.”
He added that Matalon deliberately attempted to embarrass Greige.
“After trying many times to take a selfie with Miss Lebanon, Miss Israel finally succeeded — without Miss Lebanon’s approval, of course. Sally was running away from her all the time since she was being chased by her. She stands for her country no matter what.”
Matalon, on her part, said she hoped the whole affair would result in positive change. “You know, I really want to make a difference,” Matalon told a Hollywood Access TV reporter.
“I want people to talk about it… I’m just happy that I’m here, and I’m sure [Miss Lebanon] is happy here… to be together in this situation, a once-in-a-lifetime [opportunity].”
Lebanese Tourism Minister Michel Pharon told The Associated Press earlier this week that “if there was bad intentions” from Greige, measures could be taken against her.
Griege responded to the controversial photo with a clarification in a Facebook post.
“From the first day I arrived at the Miss Universe pageant I was very careful not to take any pictures with Miss Israel, who tried repeatedly to take pictures with me,” Greige wrote on Facebook. “While I was preparing with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan to get our photograph taken, Miss Israel jumped in and took a selfie with her phone and posted it on social media.”
Matalon insisted the joint photo was genuine and was saddened that Greige was under fire at home.