Beauty queen quits amid criticism
Published 09/06/2014 | 16:17
Miss Universe Thailand has resigned less than a month into her reign after being harshly criticised on social media over her political comments and looks.
Weluree Ditsayabut, 22, tearfully announced she was giving up the title that would have allowed her to compete in the international Miss Universe pageant.
The actress and former talk show host said the hail of brutal comments on social media had given her and her mother sleepless nights.
Ms Weluree was pilloried online for comments she had posted earlier on Facebook that called for the execution of all supporters of the former Thai government, whom she characterised as opposing the country's monarchy.
She was also accused of being too fat.
"You Red Shirts, you get out of here," she wrote in mid-November, before winning her title. "Thailand's soil is dirty because of anti-monarchy people like you."
Ms Weluree said that because of the criticism "the happiness we used to have disappeared totally".
"When I saw my mom not being able to sleep at night, I couldn't either," she told a news conference. She did not specify which remarks she found most hurtful.
Ms Weluree's comments struck at the heart of Thailand's long-running political crisis, expressing the attitude of the country's educated elite and royalists towards the government of then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Ms Yingluck, who was backed by many in Thailand's rural north and north east, was forced to step down last month, and the military soon afterwards staged a coup against the elected civilian government.
Thai society has been sharply polarised since 2006, when Ms Yingluck's brother, then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted in a coup and subsequently fled into exile to avoid a corruption conviction. Since then until the recent coup, Thaksin's opponents and the Red Shirts staged competing protests in an ongoing battle for political power.