TEXAS — Just days after Miss Texas USA R’Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss USA, several other contestants have accused the pageant of favoritism and rigging the competition.

During the live broadcast, several contestants walk off stage as Gabriel was crowned instead of congratulating her. In the days after the pageant, some contestants have aired their grievances on social media.

“I think the most important thing is that all the contestants feel like they have a fair shot at the crown and that starts with more transparency in judging,” said Miss District of Columbia Faith Porter in an interview with ABC news.

Miss Montana USA Heather O’Keefe published several videos on Instagram and TikTok, claiming Gabriel had an unfair advantage and said the sponsors showed a preference for Gabriel.

“Most of the Miss USA contestants feel very strongly that there was favoritism towards Miss Texas USA and we have the receipts to prove it,” she said in her TikTok video.

Nancy Shuster, director of talent and media relations, said in a statement the current allegations made by the 2022 Miss USA class of 2022 are misleading and simply not factual. Shuster said the misunderstanding is the fact that Mia Beauté is a sponsor of the State Miss Texas USA Pageant and a sponsor of the National Miss USA Pageant. Mia Beauté has also recently opened a location at Nizuc Resort and Spa, which is also a sponsor of the national Miss USA Pageant.

Shuster said Gabriel did multiple sponsor visits, one with Mia Beauté, at which time they proposed that she finally visit Nizuc Spa. She said Gabriel paid for her own flight.

“Just as other contestants have been engaged by other sponsors before competing and or winning at the National level, Mia Beauté wanted to use R’Bonney’s diversity and representation as the first Filipina American to win Miss Texas USA,” Shuster said in a statement.

Gabriel says the allegations are not true and that she won the title on her own merit.

“The current allegations are based on perception, and not the truth. I would never want to enter a competition that was rigged. I know all of the contestants worked really hard to prepare, and I don’t want these allegations to overshadow the accomplishments of all the women who participated in this year’s Miss USA competition," she said. "I know how hard every woman worked and I want their efforts to also be acknowledged. At this time, I am excited to move forward with training for Miss Universe and all of the opportunities that the Miss USA Organization will provide, while expanding on my personal platform for sustainable fashion and advocating for charity partners Best Buddies and Smile Train.”

Crystle Stewart, president of the Miss USA Organization, said the favoritism and rigging claims are untrue.

“When I won Miss Texas USA, Miss USA and more recently, became President of the Miss USA Organization, many women of color were inspired and filled with hope. I would not do not anything, such as a ‘rig a competition’ that I fought so hard for to win, and jeopardize that hope,” Stewart said in a statement. “Myself, my staff, and pageant partners take this very seriously and are cooperating with the Miss Universe Organization as they investigate the allegations. In addition to the Miss Universe investigation, we are conducting an internal review to assess our staff and other personnel to ensure that there was fairness, non-discrimination, and no favoritism amongst the contestants. In every attempt, I want to ensure there is an equal playing field for every contestant from uniformity in wardrobe, sponsored headshots, mental health workshops, and complimentary training. All to protect, educate, and empower our contestants.”

Gabriel is the first Filipina American to win Miss USA. She will compete in the Miss Universe Pageant in January 2023.