Since even before Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA, conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel has been claiming Fakih's family includes top leaders of Hezbollah. After Fakih won, Schlussel decried her victory as a "sad day for the politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate in which we're mired" and called Donald Trump a "dhimmi" for handing her the crown.
Controversy has swirled around Fakih's Miss USA crowning, in part because of Schlussel's comments about her--more so, however, because of photos taken of Fakih posing with (on? around? near?) a stripper pole, and suppositions that her victory had something to do with Miss Oklahoma's constitutional interpretation of Arizona's immigration law.
Today, Fakih responded to the Hezbollah talk in an appearance on MSNBC.
"It's very hurtful. I would say it's very hurtful, and it's absolutely false," Fakih said when asked by host Tamryn Hall about the suggestions of Hezbollah association. Fakih pointed out that "it's just one person"--i.e., Schlussel--who is making them.
"She is someone said to be very racist and controversial," Fakih said.
"I was first asked about it, and I said, 'Come on man, I'm in a bikini, I would probably be arrested for this,'" Fakih said.
Coincidentally, that's not the first I've heard of that last point. Talking about Schlussel's accusations on the phone with a Tea Party organizer a few days ago, the activist pointed out that Hezbollah would probably frown on the swimsuit competition, not to mention stripper poles.
Photo credit: Mahmoud Zayat/Getty Images
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.