Cut Miss Washington some slack

People make bad choices all of the time. But if you’re in the public eye, it’s pretty much inevitable someone will find out about it.

There’s major controversy surrounding some inappropriate photos of Miss Washington Elyse Umemoto which surfaced on the celebrity Web site, TMZ.com. The pictures, which TMZ.com dubbed “bad apple” photos, show Umemoto flipping off the camera while wearing her crown, playing beer pong and making suggestive hand signs. Granted, participating in these sort of acts while wearing her crown was defintely her first and major faux pas — but she’s only human and she probably is regretting ever participating in such antics. Not only is she undoubtedly humiliated by the photographs, but someone — most likely a close friend — obviously betrayed her by leaking the photographs.

Just because she carries the title of Miss Washington doesn’t mean she isn’t going to make bad decisions, it just means she’s going to have to take a little more flak for it because she’s in the limelight. She’s like many 20-somethings who make bad choices and will hopefully learn from them and move on.

Luckily for her, the Miss Washington Scholarship Organization also realizes it was a lapse in judgement and is not revoking her crown. She’s not the first pageant queen to land in hot water after her indiscretions were revealed. Most recently, Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner almost lost her crown after it was revealed that she was allegedly participating in underage drinking and drugs. She later entered rehab, but retained her title.

Pageant titleholders are expected to act as role models, but we can’t expect them to be perfect. They may sometimes look the part, but they too are only human.

As Umemoto crowns a new Miss Washington in tonight’s ceremony in Tacoma, hopefully she will pass on her newfound knowledge of the consequences of a bad decision.

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