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Miss Universe Photo Shoot Under Fire

Pageant in trouble for unauthorized photo shoot in India.

Miss USA Olivia Culpo

Miss Universe Olivia Culpo

Photo By Jenna Greene

Another controversy surrounds the Miss Universe pageant this week. 

Indian authorities charged the current Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo, and her team for an unauthorized photo shoot that took place Sunday at the Taj Mahal.

Allegedly, the 21-year-old winner of Miss USA, and then Miss Universe, and her team snuck in a variety of shoes for a fashion shoot. Strict rules exist against shoes within the temple and against using the sacred temple for promotional purposes. If found guilty, Culpo and those involved could face two years of jail time and a $1,600 fine.

Culpo was on a 10-day tour of India to raise AIDS awareness and promote female empowerment.

A statement released by the Miss Universe organization said the shoot was part of the regular documentation of the winner for the pageant blog.

“The Miss Universe Organization would like to extend its deepest apologies to the people of India,” said the statement. “The Miss Universe Organization continually creates video diaries of our titleholder to keep fans and sponsors up to date on her travels and to share in the experience. As part of these videos, we sometimes incorporate sponsors into these shoots. The filming that took place outside the Taj Mahal was never intended to be used as a commercial, nor was it meant in any way to be disrespectful.”

The statement doesn’t mention sponsors by name or the brand used in the shoot, though as of today, the Miss Universe website still lists Chinese Laundry as the pageant’s sponsor. Chinese Laundry could not be reached for comment.